Russia steps up food imports from 'non-sanctioned' countries

Russia is enlarging imports from third countries following the ban on food from the United States, Canada, the European Union, Norway and Australia. Turkey is providing poultry and fish, Switzerland is delivering dairy products, and Uruguay is supplying fish.

Russia is enlarging imports from third countries following the ban on food from the United States, Canada, the European Union, Norway and Australia. Turkey is providing poultry and fish, Switzerland is delivering dairy products, and Uruguay is supplying fish.

Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) head Sergei Dankvert made a statement to that effect to Interfax, referring to the September data from the Argus automated system recording deliveries.

According to him, Brazil delivered 39,000 tonnes of beef in September of this year compared to 28,000 tonnes in September 2013, Argentina - 3,500 tonnes as against 1,000, and Uruguay - 2,600 tonnes as against 1,500.

In total, beef imports grew from 52,400 tonnes to 91,000 tonnes year-on-year in September 2014.

Pork imports dropped from 57,800 tonnes to 20,800 in the same period, mostly because the market lacked pork imported from "sanctioned" countries last September. Back then Germany supplied 9,700 tonnes of pork, Denmark - 8,800, Canada - 6,200, France - 3,800, the Netherlands - 3,800, Belgium - 1,800 and Hungary - 1,600.

Dankvert pointed out that EU pork imports had been banned long before the food imports embargo because of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.

In the meantime, pork exports to Russia have grown year-on-year from 12,500 tonnes to 15,600 tonnes from Brazil and from 1,800 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes from Chile. There has been a surge in pork imports from Serbia, from 43 tonnes in September 2013 to 1,870 tonnes this September.

Trends have been similar in poultry imports. Overall poultry imports declined from 42,000 last September to 18,800 in September of this year, but grew from 5,000 tonnes to 7,650 tonnes from Brazil and from 1,200 tonnes to 1,700 tonnes from Argentina. Turkey has started to supply poultry, as well, 2,050 tonnes.

The United States was the main poultry supplier last September, with 27,000 tonnes. Poultry was also imported from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Lithuania, Denmark and a number of other "sanctioned" countries.

Milk and dairy import data from the St. Petersburg and Leningrad region territorial department (supervising ports and border checkpoints) also demonstrates a growth in imports from countries exempt from the Russian food imports embargo, Dankvert said. For instance, Switzerland delivered 265 tonnes of dairy products in September of this year, and there were no deliveries last September. Imports from Uruguay grew from 110 tonnes last September to 2,000 tonnes in September of this year.

Last September, the main suppliers of dairy products were EU member countries, among them Finland (7,600 tonnes), France (1,510 tonnes), Denmark (1,800 tonnes), the Netherlands (1,050 tonnes) and Germany (770 tonnes).

On the whole, dairy imports declined from 18,800 tonnes last September to 4,000 tonnes in September of this year.

The St. Petersburg and Leningrad region territorial department reported a growth in meat and meat product imports from Latin America. For instance, Brazil has increased meat exports from 40,800 tonnes last September to 52,500 tonnes in September of this year, and meat imports from Argentina grew from 6,150 tonnes to 7,300 tonnes in the same period.

Last September, 6,800 tonnes of meat and meat products were imported from Denmark, 5,500 from Canada, 3,300 from the Netherlands and 2,700 tonnes from France in the department's area of responsibility.

It has also reported a growth in fish and fish product imports from countries which did not use to be major suppliers. For instance, the Faroe Islands enlarged deliveries from 17 tonnes to 6,668 tonnes year-on-year, deliveries grew from 4,500 tonnes to 9,800 tonnes from Chile, from 724 to 1,144 tonnes from Ecuador and from 655 to 991 tonnes from Thailand.

Additionally, fish imports have from Turkey (157 tonnes) and Uruguay (54 tonnes) begun.

In all, the department recorded the delivery of 49,700 tonnes of fish in September of this year compared to 57,800 tonnes last September.

A decline in fruit and vegetable imports has been insignificant, from 173,700 tonnes in September 2013 to 172,400 tonnes in September 2014.

In Dankvert's opinion, the indicators show that the persistent efforts of re-orientation towards new suppliers have brought results. "You can see by these digits that many countries are eager to come to our market and fill the vacant niches," he said.

Russia banned imports of meat and meat products, fish and fish products, milk and dairy products, and fruit and vegetables from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway on August 7 in retaliation for the sanctions imposed by those countries on Russia over the events in Ukraine.

Read more: RBTH readers react to foodban>>>

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