Complaint to WTO Could 'Prolong Ban' on Lithuanian Dairy Products

Lithuania's decision to complain to the World Trade Organization about Russia's ban on imports of its dairy products will delay their return on the Russian market, Russia's chief sanitary inspector Gennady Onishchenko said Tuesday.

Last Monday, Lithuania's Ambassador at the UN, Albinas Zananavičius, spoke about his country's intention to lodge a complaint with the WTO, but Onishchenko has warned against taking such a step, saying it would protract the process of lifting the ban "for an incalculably long time," Interfax reported.

He said that going to the WTO would stall bilateral talks and delay the departure of the inspection team that is planning to check the quality of Lithuania's dairy products.

Russia suspended imports of Lithuania's dairy products on Oct. 7, ostensibly over sanitary concerns, but Lithuanian and foreign observers see the ban as the latest attempt by Russia to put pressure on the Baltic state to prevent it from signing trade agreements with the European Union.

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