17 Sep 2019 18:28

Forty-eight Russian regions have right to export beef to China - Akimov

ST. PETERSBURG. Sept 17 (Interfax) - Forty-eight Russian regions that are free of foot-and-mouth disease have the right to export beef to China, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov told journalists in St. Petersburg following a meeting between Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

"Agriculture was absolutely the focus. China has a negative agricultural trade balance of over $50 billion, and, of course, this is a big market. It's currently open to 48 of our regions that are free of bovine foot-and-mouth disease," Akimov said.

There are "very good trends in deliveries of poultry products [to China]," he said.

"As for grain, we're continuing to work to open this market fully for all Russian regions," Akimov said. Today, only seven regions can export wheat to China.

The heads of government also discussed the potential lifting of restrictions on Chinese deliveries of stone fruits, he said.

Russia banned imports of stone and pome fruits from China as of August 10 due to continuing deliveries of produce infested with quarantine pests, according to Rosselkhoznadzor.

China is one of Russia's biggest suppliers of produce, shipping over 900,000 tonnes per year, including more than 180,000 tonnes of citrus fruits, more than 190,000 tonnes of apples, pears, plums, nectarines, apricots, and pears, more than 80,000 tonnes of tomatoes, about 53,000 tonnes of potatoes, and 100,000 tonnes of onion and garlic.

Starting in the 1990s, there had been a streamlined procedure for importing produce from China: shipments are allowed from any location in the country. "Unfortunately, the phytosanitary situation in China has changed significantly. The presence of quarantine organisms indicates the need to review it," Rosselkhoznadzor said when introducing the ban.

Russian specialists are preparing to inspect orchards in China.