Russia is heading towards a more permanent exclusion of meat originating from the European Union as well as from the United States.
A woman looks at a variety of sausages in a supermarket in St. Petersburg Russia. Hope Shkolkina, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Agricultural Issues, said, "Imports of all major products have already decreased, but we don't see any empty shelves." - Photo:ANP
That conclusion can be drawn from a draft decree by Russia's Ministry of Agriculture, based on shipping volumes and quotas as used in 2015. The decree includes a list of areas that cannot ship meat into Russia – a list that includes the EU and the US. According to some analysts, the law would even allow for a permanent ban on EU and US meat.
The Russian meat industry is reacting positively as the country is heading for self-sufficiency anyway. Optimism is also the trend in the reaction of politicians.
No empty shelves in Russia
Hope Shkolkina, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Agricultural Issues, reacted, "Imports of all major products have already decreased, but we don't see any empty shelves. Our farmers are not confused over this situation and not only actively take up the vacant places on the market, but also actively go to foreign markets."
She continued, "Pig, poultry, grain producers are currently targeting markets in China, Vietnam and the Arab countries. The ministry of Economical Development just summed up the situation and it turned out that agriculture is still the driver of our country's economy. Despite the fact that the GDP goes down, the agricultural market continues to grow."
Redistribution of meat imports
Konstantin Laikam, deputy head of Russia's Statistical Service, said, "There is a redistribution of meat imports on the market in favour of China, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. They are increasing their supply, and replacing the EU as supplier. Belarus has also increased the supplies of meat nearly twice [since the introduction of the embargo]. Imports of pork in this period have dropped by nearly 50%, with the main importers today being Brazil and Ukraine."
Maximum pork import quota
Russia's meat prices have risen by 35% ever since Russia closed its borders for the EU and the US. For the current year, Russia has applied pork import quota of 400,000 tonnes. About 30,000 tonnes could come from the EU and the US and is made up mainly of slaughter byproducts. In addition, the quota for poultry meat was 364,000 tonnes, of which 80,000 tonnes would come from the EU. Due to the import ban, these numbers have not been reached.