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Law Loosening Certification Regulations Goes Into Effect

A law went into force Monday allowing producers of food, alcohol and cosmetics to bypass earlier requirements to receive an official certification of quality.

The law, signed by the government on Dec. 1, allows producers to write their own declaration that the products meet the government's health and safety standards. The move is intended to ease the bureaucratic burden on business, allowing producers to vouch for their goods based on their own research or verification from a laboratory of their choosing.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the share of producers required to receive state certification will drop from 78 percent to 54 percent. This will not only "debureaucratize the procedure," he said, but should result in savings for business of about 700 million rubles ($23 million), Interfax reported.

Producers who violate state regulations will be fined by the Federal Consumer Protection Agency from 20,000 rubles to 300,000 rubles, depending on the severity of the violation and potential threat to health or safety, Vedomosti reported. Extreme cases could result in two years' imprisonment.

Businessmen are optimistic about the change and are confident that the measures won't result in a drop-off in quality control.

"Those who have been striving to produce quality goods will continue to do so, regardless of whether they need a certification or not," said Nikolai Ostarkov, managing director of Delovaya Rossia, a business lobbying group.

"Those who tried to sell poor quality products could just buy certificates before. There was a whole corrupt system," he said, adding that the main issue now is to ensure that the liberalization is real: "If it's the exact same procedure controlled by the same authorities, the change will be in name only."

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