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Russia Urged to Solve Issue of Chinese Goods Seized in Moscow

The Chinese Embassy in Moscow urged Russia on Friday to resolve the issue of the Chinese business people whose goods were seized in a police raid in south Moscow.


Cheng Guoping of the Chinese Embassy in Moscow met with an official of the Russian Foreign Ministry, saying China was deeply concerned about the seizure by Russian tax agents of the Chinese goods on the evening of March 12 and detention of the merchants who own the goods the next day.


During their meeting, Cheng said China made representations to the relevant department immediately after the incident, but no solution has come out so far.


The Chinese government has been urging Chinese merchants to carry our business according to the Russian law, Cheng said.


Cheng urged the Russian Foreign Ministry to take effective measures to adequately address the issue, and return the goods to the Chinese merchants, saying the seizure and detention have not only impaired the legitimate interests of Chinese business people, but will also have a negative impact on China-Russia trade.


The official of the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed his understanding of China's concern, saying the ministry will cooperate with other relevant departments to solve the problem.


According to practice, Chinese goods could enter Russia through what is known as the "gray customs clearance," which is recognized by Russia's Customs Commission.


However, consignors of goods flowing to Russia through such "gray clearance" are left with no official customs declaration documents.


With the rapid development of bilateral trade, China and Russia have separately set up their own working teams to rectify the system of "gray customs clearance."


Meanwhile, China and Russia have reached consensus that, before the issue of "gray customs clearance" is resolved, it is not acceptable for each side to take unilateral action such as seizingthe goods.


Russian authorities have launched similar raids before. In 2004,Russian Interior Ministry agents carted away large quantities of goods from more than 300 stalls rented by Chinese business people in Moscow from Feb. 9 to Feb. 12.


(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2005)


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