The Ministry of Agriculture proposed to extend the duty-free import of beef
Zero duties on imports of up to 200 thousand tons of beef came into force in 2022 - now it is proposed to extend them to 2023. Miratorg opposed benefits, stating the consequences for domestic producers
The Ministry of Agriculture proposed to the Ministry of Economy to extend duty-free imports to 200,000 tons of beef in 2023. This information was reported to Kommersant by sources in the market and confirmed by the Ministry of Economics, adding that the initiative is being considered by a specialized expert group.
The authorities allowed duty-free imports of frozen beef, as well as up to 100 thousand tons of pork in 2022. Kristina Romanovskaya, general director of the Lazarevskoye farm, explained that the abolition of quotas could lead to a shortage, since Russia was unable to increase meat production in the first half of the year. According to Rosstat, in eight months of 2022, its volumes decreased by 3.3% year-on-year, to 866 thousand tons in slaughter weight.
At the same time, the head of the National Meat Association (NMA), Sergei Yushin, believes that by the end of the year, beef production may even increase: the slaughter season will soon begin, which accounts for up to 40% of the annual output. According to Yushin, the reduction in the production of livestock for slaughter was caused by the fact that slaughter and meat processing enterprises were forced to buy it from farmers at reduced prices to compensate for costs.
Miratorg warned that given the strong ruble and the high cost of beef production, the extension of duty-free imports could exacerbate the situation for domestic producers. Therefore, the company proposes to switch to a flat duty of 27.5%.
One of Kommersant's sources said that benefits for importers in 2022 did not lead to an increase in imports. Another interlocutor claims that the size of the duty for 2023 will not affect the dynamics of production in the country.
At the same time, Yushin pointed out that in January-February 2022, beef supplies from abroad were 36% higher than in 2021. In March, their volume fell sharply due to logistical problems that arose as a result of the sanctions, but now some of these difficulties have been resolved and the opposite trend is observed again, says the head of the NMA.
In August, Kommersant wrote that the Ministry of Agriculture is studying possible measures to stimulate beef production against the background of its decline in the first half of 2022 by 2.3%. In particular, the option of fattening bulls of dairy breeds is being considered.
The sources of the newspaper connected the reduction in production with the refusal of Miratorg to buy cattle from farmers, since 200 thousand tons of imported frozen beef entered the market at a zero duty rate instead of 15%. The holding has reduced slaughter and purchases from Russian producers, as it has become more profitable to buy imported beef.
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