Russia will not be supplying grain to EU countries within the framework of a country quota due to the decision to suspend the talks with the European Commission on the obtainment of such a quota, a representative of the Economic Development Ministry of Russia told RBC.
As it was reported earlier, the EU imposed quotas on grain imports on January 1, 2003. Only the US and Canada received special (country) quotas. The European Commission promised to set a special limit on supplies of 600,000 tons for Russia, whereas Russia is able to supply 2m tons. However, during the negotiations, Russia made a decision to impose quotas on meat imports beginning April 1, 2003, and the EU is a large supplier of meat.
In the opinion of persons who are close to the negotiation process, this decision by Russia blocked the talks. Arkady Zlochevsky, the head of Russia's Grain Union, told RBC, "Russian grain traders are no longer counting on a continuation of the negotiations." He reckons that the minimum volume of grain supplies from Russia to the EU will reach 0.5m tons in 2003 under the general quota. "This volume could be much higher, if Russia were able to use the capacity of Ukrainian ports, while fluctuations in the volume of supplies can be caused by a worsening of the situation with ice blocking the port of St. Petersburg," he remarked. Zlochevsky believes that a reduction in the volume of supplies to the EU could be compensated for by means of exporting grain to Asia and Africa.