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EU opens doors to Russian poultry imports

By Vladislav Vorotnikov , 17-Dec-2012

The European Union has opened its market to poultry imports from Russia, just weeks after a similar agreement was signed with the Ukraine.

Poultry companies must now submit applications to Russia’s veterinary watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, with the first deliveries to Europe expected at the at the end of February 2013.

“We have been waiting for this decision for many years. Joining the WTO allows Russia to open new export markets,” said the press secretary of Rosselkhoznadzor Alexei Alexeyenko.

Representatives of the largest producers of poultry meat in Russia have generally welcomed this decision.

“Cherkizovo not yet assessed the EU market from the point of view of economy of supply and sales, but, on its own accord, this decision is positive. This suggests that after Russia’s WTO accession, the country is undergoing the integration into the world market, and that the quality control system [of Russian poultry producers] complies with European standards,” said the director of communications and investor relations for Cherkizovo group, Alexander Kostikov.

“Miratorg is going to launch its poultry project in September next year and will then immediately file an application to Rosselkhoznadzor for monitoring [to receive the right to supply poultry in EU],” said the director general of agricultural holding Miratorg, Alexander Nikitin.

Industry experts pointed out that the Russia’s exports to EU may be hampered by the lack of programs to combat salmonella in poultry production, as well as by the very high prices. Currently, the wholesale price of a chicken breast fillet in Russia is around €4 per kg. In Europe, the cost is lower on average even without import duties.

However, with poultry production in Russia expected to grow from 3.5 million tonnes (mt) to 4.5mt by 2020, Russia will have to increase its poultry meat exports by 20-25 times compared to the current level to 500,000-600,000 tonnes per year.

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