Russia lifts ban on Georgia's Borjomi mineral water

By bne IntelliNews April 12, 2013

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Russia announced on April 11 that it has lifted the ban on imports of iconic Georgian mineral water Borjomi, which has been in place since relations between the two countries deteriorated in 2006.

The head of Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor, Gennady Onishchenko, has signed all the paperwork needed to allow Borjomi and three other Georgian mineral water producers to resume exports to Russia, Itar-Tass reported. "All restrictions have been lifted," Onishchenko said.

Borjomi is the most popular brand of mineral water across the former-Soviet Union, and is widely thought to have healing properties, especially following a heavy vodka session. The lifting of the ban mineral water producer was taken over by Russia's Alfa Group in January.

Citing health concerns, Russia banned imports of Georgian wine and mineral water in 2006, as relations between the two countries soured in the run-up to the August 2008 war over South Ossetia. However, since the Georgian Dream coalition defeated President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement in the October parliamentary elections, relations have started to improve under new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

A delegation from Rospotrebnadzor visited Georgia in February to inspect wineries and producers of brandy and mineral water. In late March, Interfax reported that Rospotrebnadzor was about to approve 17 brands of Georgian wine and five brandies for import to Russia. Rospotrebnadzor is planning a second visit to Georgia to inspect a further 27 companies this month.

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