Switzerland has turned down requests from EU fruit, vegetable and dairy product associations to export products to Russia through the country to bypass Moscow’s trade embargo. 

Under present rules, EU food products would have to be registered in Switzerland for sale in the country.

However, a spokesperson for the Switzerland’s federal office for agriculture said resgistration was “quite a long process” and there is no plan to simplify the requirements so that EU-products could become Swiss. “The Russian customs would not accept that,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson declined to name the companies or the EU countries wanting to send their products to Russia via Switzerland.

Moscow has exempted Switzerland from its trade embargo as the country has not joined in economic sanctions against Russia following President Vladimir Putin’s continued support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier this summer, traditionally neutral Switzerland pledged to prevent Russia from using its territory to bypass Western countries’ sanctions. As for EU re-exports, the spokesperson for the federal office for agriculture said Switzerland laid down minimum hygiene standards for food, which could not be guaranteed if the products came in from other European countries.