Moldova is seeking a discount on Russian gas and trade benefits for its goods, the country’s president Igor Dodon told the N4 TV channel.
According to Dodon, without a Russian gas discount, prices for consumers will begin to rise from the start of the next year.
"Late last year, the national energy regulator made the decision to lower gas tariffs, which was not justified from the economic point of view. And now we have a problem. There are only two ways of solving it - to raise gas tariffs or to negotiate with Gazprom on a discount, which should come into force not since January 1, but right now," he is quoted as saying by TASS.
Dodon said he had already discussed the problem with Prime Minister Maia Sandu.
During his visit to Moscow in February 2019, Dodon asked Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller to give Moldova a 25% discount on gas. He justified the request by Moldova joining the work of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) as an observer nation last year.
After meeting with Miller on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (EAEU), the Moldovan leader said an agreement had been reached to start negotiating new terms of contracts for gas delivery and transit starting from January 1, 2020.
Last year, Gazprom delivered 2.9 billion cubic meters of gas to Moldova, up 8.4% since 2017.
Commenting on the Russian government’s expected decision to extend its trade benefits for Moldovan goods by another six months, Dodon said the move would strengthen trade and economic relations between the two states.
"I discussed the issue with Dmitry Kozak, there was also a request from the government of Moldova, which was some time ago. It would allow us to increase bilateral trade significantly," Dodon said.
He said that the resumption of the Russian-Moldovan intergovernmental commission after a three-year pause will "create favorable conditions for a full-scale ‘restart’ of bilateral relations at the level of governments."
The Russian government has earlier confirmed that the extension of trade benefits for the period of July 1 - December 31 is being prepared.
"The decision has not yet been made, but it is being prepared," the Russian premier’s spokesperson, Oleg Osipov said.
The Russian government abolished duties on import of Moldavian vegetables, fruits, canned fruits and vegetables, grapes and wine products from January 1 of this year by its decree.