European alcohol ban in Kazakhstan a hasty decision: KazAlko19 may 2014, 20:24
KazAlko Association considers ban of European alcohol import to Kazakhstan a hasty decision, Tengrinews reports.
The Kazakhstan Agency for Consumer Protection announced that “a temporary ban on import and sales of alcohol products comes into effect on July 1, 2014”. The ban is linked to the importers' failure to comply with labeling requirements and provide information about the beverages in the Kazakh language.
Amirzhan Kaliev, chairman of KazAlko, the association of producers and distributers of alcohol beverages in Kazakhstan, suggested approaching the ban on case-by-case basis and giving foreign producers of alcohol time to adapt to the Kazakhstani market requirements.
“It is a fair decision concerning Russian and Belarusian producers. But in case of foreign alcohol producers it is a hasty decision. There should be some concessions given. (…) For example, an importer in bringing in a batch of 500 bottles of whiskey. And to do so, the importer has to order printing of the right labels in Kazakh here in Kazakhstan, then bring them back to the producing country and place them on the bottles instead of the original one, but in accordance with the standards and technologies of the company. This process is not a simple one, especially when small amounts are imported,” Kaliev explained.
Kaliev agreed that import rules for Russia and Belarus have to be tightened. “To export vodka to Russia, Kazakhstan producers have to come to Russia and order labels that comply with their standards. There must not be a single word in the Kazakh language on those labels. Then the producer has to bring the labels back to Kazakhstan, stick them on the bottles and only then export the beverages. While in case of import to Kazakhstan there are no such requirements,” Kaliev said.
Aigerim Sadubayeva of the Agency for Consumer Protection explained that the ban would be in effect until the producers and importers start following Kazakhstani standards. The agency is not concerned with illegal import of alcohol as they hope to solve the issue in the nearest future. Meanwhile, Sadubayeva noted that there was a sufficient stock of foreign alcohol in the country to avoid shortages.
Reporting by Vladimir Prokopenko, writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina