In case the European Union uses sanctions against Russian grain, Russian should immediately introduce quotas on meat and dairy imports, President of the Russian Grain Union Arkady Zlochevsky told journalists on Wednesday. Moreover, import duties on volumes above the quotas may be very high, "even prohibiting", he emphasized.
Earlier it was reported that the EU intended to introduce quotas on barley and wheat imports, including those from Russia, since January 1, 2003. Wheat imports above the quotas will be charged a customs duty of 95 euros per ton.
By now Russian representatives have already held consultations with the European Commission concerning the quotas, according to Zlochevsky. In 2002-2003 Russia has to export about 3 million tons of grain to European countries alone, he pointed out. Yet the European Commission announced a common quota of 2,981,000 tons on privileged grain imports with a 12-euro duty per ton. Canada and the USA will be allowed to export to European countries 90,000 and over 500,000 tons of grain respectively, which means that Russia, Ukraine and other states can count only on the rest of the volume.
Consultations with the European Commission will go on, and Russia will try to achieve higher quotas, Zlochevsky said. Meanwhile Russian grain export has already started changing its direction, and supplies are being shifted to Asian and North African countries, while talks with Brazil are also underway, he pointed out.