Meat imports from the U.S. are not critical for Russian agricultural producers

Since Monday, Russia imposed temporary restrictions on the import of frozen pork and beef, as well as turkey meat, giblets and offal from the U.S. Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights explains it by the presence of the banned adjuvant ractopamine in meat.

"Grocery wars" between Russia and the USA occur once in a while. Their source may be far from agriculture or food supplies to the population and may be often found in political area.

One cannot exclude problems with the quality of meat supplied from the U.S. to Russia. I would like to note, that ractopamine is widely used in the USA, Brazil, Mexico, but this substance is prohibited for use in the EU countries, Russia, China, as it can provide a toxic effect on the humans.


Back in October 2011 Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance has notified the major exporters of meat to Russia of the ban on import of products containing ractopamine. In December 2012, the regulations, according to which shipment of meat is possible only after the product has been checked for ractopamine were brought into effect. All deliveries should be accompanied with the results of expertise for the absence of the substance in meat. In response, the USA accused Russia of violating WTO rules.

It should be noted that the supply of meat from the United States does not play a decisive role for the Russian agricultural producers. With the accession of Russia to the WTO quotas on meat imports were sustained, so Russian farmers are still working in the same conditions. There is only one significant change - a dramatic reduction of duties on live pigs supply from 60% to 5%. However, the USA does not deliver live pork to Russia; it is imported from neighboring countries, and in small quantities - only 100 thousand tons per year.


For the Russian agricultural producers the situation will radically change only in 2018, when duties will be reduced, as well as supply quotas. By this time, on the one hand, Russian farmers will have to reduce the cost of their products to be competitive in price with cheap raw materials exporters to Russia, and on the other hand, the government should extend the support to agricultural producers through the green basket measures.

V.Ya.Uzun, Leading researcher of Department of Agricultural Policy