Belarus has had its meat import quotas for 2013 reduced significantly by the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), which controls tariffs for the Customs Union.
According to an EEC document on meat import quotas for 2013, Belarus’ import quota for beef will be reduced from 5,000 tonnes (t) in 2012 to zero in 2013. The poultry quota will be reduced to from 15,000t in 2012 to 10,900t, while the quota for pork will increase slightly from 60,000t in 2012 to 60,200t.
In contrast, Russia and Kazakhstan have both seen meat import quotas increased. Russia’s beef import quota will be 570,000t (560,000t in 2012), the pork quota will be 430,000t (the same level as in 2012), and the poultry quota will be 364,000t (320,000t in 2012). Kazakhstan’s quota for beef will be 15,400t (14,100t in 2012), pork will be 9,700t (9,400t in 2012), and poultry will be 100,000t (110,000t in 2012).
Experts said the initial application by Belarus had been seriously limited. The country requested a pork import quota of 90,000t, but was only allowed 60,000t, and was not permitted any beef imports in 2013.
Commenting after the meeting, where the tariffs were set, the Minister of Trade of the EEC Andrew Slepnev said the initial application made by Belarus “stood beyond the scope provided by [the Customs Union] agreement on the mechanisms and parameters of the distribution of tariff quotas”.
He added that it might be necessary to reduce Belarus’ meat import quotas even more, claiming the country was currently importing meat and selling it on to other members of the Customs Union, which is prohibited by existing trade agreements.
“Despite the fact that Belarus actually receives the imported pork within the quota, much of the finished product recently has been delivered to the market of the Customs Union, which raises questions about not only whether it is necessary to increase quotas, but whether they even should be kept at the same level – especially taking into account the fact that Russia, as part of its accession to WTO, agreed to increase the supply of imported pork, despite opposition from the national [pork] industry,” he said.