Thursday, 23 March 2017

Russia's official statement to Turkey

In response to Turkey not imposing a ban on Russian wheat imports (they just don't want to buy any at the moment), the Russian Minister of Agriculture has posted a statement on the ministry website, here's a translation:

Statement of the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia in connection with the possible restriction of Russian agricultural products to Turkey

In recent days, conflicting information is coming from Ankara, related to public statements by representatives of Turkish authorities and experts on restricting the supply of Russian agricultural products to Turkey.

The Ministry of Agriculture of Russia is extremely surprised and disappointed by this position of the Turkish colleagues, since during the last 6 months both sides declared the necessity of normalising bilateral trade relations.

In November 2016, during a meeting with the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock of the Republic of Turkey F. Chelik, we agreed on a phasing-out of restrictions in the mutual trade in agricultural products.

For our part, we have done a lot of work to remove these restrictions. Russia lifted restrictions on imports from Turkey of citrus and stone fruit, onions, cabbage, cloves and other food products. In the future, we planned to continue lifting restrictions on other types of agricultural products important for Turkey. At the same time, the Turkish side did not take any active measures to ensure access of Russian meat and dairy products to the Turkish market.

Ankara's acceptance of such a decision could lead to a complete cessation of imports to Turkey of several names of Russian agricultural products (wheat, corn, unrefined sunflower oil, sunflower meal, beans and rice).

Such actions of Turkey call into question the sincerity of intentions to build strong relationships. We do not accept and reject attempts to exert pressure on Russia in order to open the access of Turkish agricultural products to the Russian market in those sensitive areas where Russian production has been actively developing in recent years.

For our part, we will take all necessary measures to diversify the sales markets. Taking into account Russia's leading positions on the world grain market and the quality of Russian agricultural products, I am confident that we will be able to promptly reorient the supply of Russian agricultural products to other regions of the world in a short time.

I want to assure that we will continue to support Russian producers and exporters, and also maximally protect our own market in sensitive areas of agriculture so that within 5-7 years Russian agricultural producers can fully meet the needs of the domestic market in agricultural products and food.
Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation         
A.N. Tkachev