Russia May Up Beef Quotas But Cut Pork, Poultry

RUSSIA - Russia is expected to raise quotas for beef imports while cutting allocations for pork and poultry next year.
calendar icon 2 September 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

The assessment, by the country's National Meat Association, is reported by Bloomberg.

The proposals from Russian meat producers are supported by the Economy and Agriculture Ministries, Sergei Yushin, who heads the association’s executive committee, said in an interview in Moscow on 27 August. The government may approve final three-year quotas in September, he said. The Moscow-based group represents importers, processors and animal producers.

Russia may increase its beef quota by 100,000 tonnes to 550,000 tons in 2010 and raise the duty on supplies above that limit to 50 per cent from 30 per cent, Mr Yushin said. Quotas for poultry may be cut by about 100,000 tonnes to 850,000 tonnes and for pork by 32,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes, he said.

Russia introduced import quotas in 2003 to help domestic producers. The nation's first-half meat imports fell 29 per cent to 957,000 tonnes, including a 37 per cent drop in poultry and a 26 per cent decline in pork, according to customs data. Imported meat will account for 25 per cent of consumption this year, down from 32 per cent in 2008, the Agriculture Ministry said on 25 August.

Boosting the beef quotas would allow greater volumes to be allocated to different countries, making Russia less dependent on any one supplier, Mr Yushin said. The European Union has 80 per cent of the existing beef quota, which has not been fully used because the 27-nation bloc became a net importer, he said.

Additional tariffs

Russia missed out on 350,000 tons of beef imports from Europe because the region did not have surplus meat for sale abroad, Bloomberg reports Mr Yushin saying. That obliged buyers to seek supplies from elsewhere and pay additional tariffs once quotas were breached, he said.

Total beef imports reached 800,000 tonnes last year, compared with quotas of 450,000 tonnes. Russia may either seek to drop specific country quotas or cut the share allocated to Europe, Mr Yushin said. Europe's quota may be cut between 50,000 tones and 70,000 tonnes next year, from 355,500 tonnes in 2009, he said.

The US quota may be raised to 30,000 tonnes from 18,500 tonnes, with the remainder allotted to Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Canada, Mr Yushin said. Their quota for 2009 was a combined 73,000 tonnes. Brazil is Russia's biggest beef supplier, followed by Argentina and Australia.

Higher domestic beef prices should spur more demand for poultry and pork, he said.

Rising consumption

Russian poultry consumption is rising, while demand for red meat and sausages fell by as much as 15 per cent between January and July, Mr Yushin said. His association is proposing to cut the poultry import quota to 850,000 tonnes next year, from 952,000 tons. Other producer groups such as the Association of Russian Poultry Market Operators want to cut the quota to between 780,000 tonnes and 820,000 tonnes, Mr Yushin said. Russia is the largest buyer of US chicken meat, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

"The government may choose a compromise between these proposals but we think that poultry quotas shouldn't fall below 800,000 tonnes to 820,000 tonnes," he said. "Otherwise, we'll immediately see a price increase, and even shortages."

The Bloomberg report continues that the US may not use all of its pork and poultry quotas this year because the ruble's decline against the dollar, which he put at seven per cent, has made imports more expensive, Mr Yushin said. Russian pork production will grow by as much as 180,000 tonnes this year, he added.

No one at either the Agriculture Ministry or Economy Ministry that deals with meat issues could be reached immediately for comment.

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