Russia’s import ban opens up export opportunities for Serbian producers

BELGRADE, (PNA/ITAR-TASS) – Russia’s response to Western sanctions opens “vast prospects” for exports from Serbia which has not joined sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s president said Thursday.

“The Russian market is open for supplies, first of all plums and other agricultural products as well as dairy products and confectionery,” Zelijko Sertic said.

He noted the chamber already directed all municipalities to list companies that can supply products to the Russian market.

Sertic warned prospective exporters the Russian market “differs a lot at present from the way it used to be. The Russian market is more complex nowadays, demands are more concrete and high while control of inspection services is much stricter than before.”

Some 768 Serbian companies exported respective products to Russia and all received instructions on demands of Russian sanitary control agencies to vegetables and fruit, he noted.

He said Russia’s retaliatory sanctions against the West are offering vast possibilities for Serbia’s agricultural sector as “it is obvious Russia will need imports of new products in place of earlier imports.”

Apart from dried plum, he also mentioned exports of meat and meat products the quotas on which were not exhausted.

“Development of livestock breeding is one of priority directions in Serbia as well as growing of such cultures as plums which used to be Serbia’s strong point,” Sertic said.

He noted plum crop this year is insufficient even for production of domestic rakia (fruit vodka).

“The Russian market is also open for all dairy products, cheese based on vegetable fats, confectionery, a wide range of agricultural products and food but conditions for us are the same as for all the others,” he said.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a decree countering Western sanctions against Russia.

Russia prohibits or restricts, for one year, import of certain agricultural products, raw materials and food originating in a country that imposed economic sanctions against Russian companies and individuals or has joined such sanctions.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday the Russian government imposed a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, EU, the US and Norway.

The list of banned products includes cattle meat (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), pork (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), poultry meat and all poultry edible by-products, salted meat, pickled meat, dried meat, smoked meat, fish and shell fish, clams and other water invertebrates, milk and dairy products, vegetables, edible roots and tuber crops, fruits and nuts, sausage and analogous meat products, meat by-products or blood and products made of these and ready-to-eat products including cheeses and cottage-cheese based on vegetable fats.