Russia has seen a significant rise in the import of all types of meat since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), which analysts warn could lead the country to request changes to its import tariffs on meat products.
According to data from the Federal Customs Service (FCS), Russia imported 473,000 tonnes (t) of poultry in 2012, a 33.2% increase on 2011 levels. In value terms, imports of poultry meat increased 50.6% year-on-year to US$751.8 million.
Imports of other types of meat (both fresh and frozen) increased 8.1% year-on-year to 1.274mt, in monetary terms – 17, 7% to US$4.974bn.
Russian analysts agree the growth of pork imports was primarily due to the reduction of Customs duties after Russia’s accession to the WTO in August last year.
With this in mind, they predicted imports of pork would continue to increase for at least six months.
“The effect of the WTO can be traced quite clearly, especially in terms of pork imports. The November figure is 21% higher than the level of 2011, and the rate of September-December of 2012 is 30% higher than the supply of foreign pork to Russian in September-December of 2011,” reported Russian agricultural analyst Eugene Gerden.
“Total volumes of pork imports in January-August were 2% lower than during the same period of 2011. Such a scenario was originally predicted by the National Union of Pig Farmers. It is very likely that these statistics will very soon become reason to review Russia’s membership in the WTO in respect of import quotas for meat.”
Beef and poultry imports have also significantly risen in the second half of the year. However, experts predicted that this trend would not last for long.
“In January-August of 2012, beef supplies were 2% lower than a year earlier. However, the volume of imports in August-December appears to be up by 11% on 2011 levels,” claimed experts at the Russian agricultural analytical agency Agrorucom.
“Poultry imports in January-August of 2012 were 14% higher than in the same period of 2011, but the supply of poultry meat to Russia in September-December was 24% higher year-on-year.
“Very soon, maybe after six months, meat imports will stabalise, because foreign players will not have enough space on the Russian poultry and beef markets for active expansion.”