Russia sells less food to China

Kommersant: food exports from Russia to China may decrease by 10 percent 2021 by 10 percent, to 3.6 billion dollars due to restrictions on the import of fish and seafood, writes Kommersant with reference to the Center for Industry Expertise of the Russian Agricultural Bank (RSHB).

From January to October, supplies of agricultural products from Russia to China decreased by 16.5 percent, to 3.08 million tons, in money terms – by 8.3 percent, to 2.9 billion dollars. Russia began to sell less food to China after the introduction of restrictions on the import of fish and seafood due to the detection of traces of the coronavirus on packages. The volume of supplies of the fishing industry from the Russian Federation to China decreased by 68.8 percent, to 282.9 thousand tons, and the cost – by 38 percent, to $ 838 million.

After restrictions on the import of fish, Russia redirected part of South Korea, increasing the volume to that country by 37 percent, to $ 1.7 billion. Now the share of South Korea in the import of the Russian agro-industrial complex has grown from 27 to 35 percent, while the share of China has decreased from 63 to 52 percent.

Export of fish to China by the end of the year will decrease by about 73 percent, to 971.46 thousand tons, and the cost of supplies – by 43 percent, to 882 million dollars, predicts German Zverev, president of the All-Russian Association of Fisheries. He believes that Chinese ports, closed back in 2020 due to the coronavirus, will not reopen in 2022.

Alexey Buglak, president of the Pollock Catchers Association, agrees with him. He recalled that at the beginning of November, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 at the plant in Dalian, supplies of frozen fish were interrupted for an indefinite period, and from the beginning of 2022, China introduced labeling requirements for frozen products, which could paralyze supplies.

< p>The sharp decline in fish exports to China was partially offset by an increase in the supply of other categories of products, the RSHB noted. Supplies of oilseeds and butter increased by 4.9 percent, to $ 1.3 billion, meat – by 22.8 percent, to $ 324.3 million due to an increase in beef exports. Shipments of cereals to the PRC quadrupled, to $ 112 million, confectionery – by 6 percent, to $ 99 million, beverages, including beer and spirits – by 30 percent, to $ 30 million.

China continues to tighten control over food imports in border cities. In November, the city administration of Suifenhe suspended the import of prepackaged food from Russia, and the authorities of the Hulun Buir District banned the import of temperature-sensitive foods, including meat and milk.

The Cherkizovo group stated that the import restrictions do not affect the company, since they are local in nature. Despite the bans, China remains one of the key export destinations for Baltika's products, noted Alla Manyakina, senior director for export activities of the brewing company.

AB InBev Efes (BUD, Stella Artois, Corona Extra) noted that China is one of the three largest buyers of Russian beer, and the company's supplies to the country from January to October increased by 26 percent. Difficulties for the company are caused by an increase in logistics costs, strict quarantine measures, lack of proper communication between the services of the PRC and Russia and the presence in the Chinese market of manufacturers copying products of well-known brands.

Rusprodsoyuz Executive Director Dmitry Vostrikov calls another problem – Chinese partners can withdraw orders prepared by Russian suppliers. Dmitry Rylko, Director General of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, believes that the risks of difficulties with food export to China will remain.

In mid-August, the British non-profit financial analytical center Planet Tracker put forward an alternative version of the ban on the import of fish from the Russian Federation to the PRC. Experts believe that China refuses to purchase not because of fear of the spread of coronavirus, but in order to obtain the right to fish itself in Russian territorial waters. The Chinese authorities understand that catching pollock is more profitable than processing it.



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