Russian excise stamp shortage threatens alcohol imports
Russia introduced updated alcohol excise duty stamps last week
The Russian Government is considering how to prevent a potential halt to deliveries of foreign alcohol into the country caused by a delay in providing sufficient quantities of new-style excise stamps to importers.
The new stamps took effect on 1 July, with all alcoholic drinks imports required to carry them. However, a hold-up in talks between the Government and a key stamp supplying contractor is believed to be behind the lack of stamps.
Valery Filatov, chairman of the Russian Union of Importers of Alcoholic Beverages, said: "Problems with obtaining excise stamps have already caused the suspension of further supplies of alcohol imports by certain companies to Russia, while the situation continues to deteriorate."
The shortage has prompted fears that unless matters are resolved soon, the sales of major drinks brands could be badly affected during the peak pre-Christmas sales period. Russian alcohol producers and retailers can make up to half their annual turnover between October and December.
With this in mind, the Russian government may extend the terms of the sale of alcohol using the older stamps until 1 September. "The Russian government is currently considering several ways for the solution of the existing problem, the most likely of which may involve the extension of the sale of alcohol with old stamp," said an official spokesman for First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
"The government is conducting a series of consultations regarding this issue."
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