Oct 2, 2021
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Russia – CIS: for mutual benefit

The total volume of food imports in August-September alone increased by more than one and a half times. This became possible thanks to operational interstate agreements. Namely, the introduction of simplified customs procedures for perishable products in cross-border transportation, as well as the organization of high-speed road and rail transportation in the Russian Federation.

And all this is due to the fact that since the beginning of the 2010s, the regime of a free trade zone in the CIS has been fully activated, which excludes export-import duties on most of the range of mutual trade. In this zone, we recall, – Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

According to statistics, over the past year Azerbaijan has become the largest supplier of tomatoes to Russia (114 thousand tons), Belarus – potatoes (94 thousand tons), carrots (57 thousand tons), white cabbage (29 thousand tons) and cucumbers ( 19 thousand tons); Armenia is the leader in the supply of apricots (34 thousand tons), and Kazakhstan is the leader in the supply of onions (61 thousand tons) and melons (over 70 thousand tons).

In turn, Moldova holds the leading position in the export of apples (over 100 thousand tons) and grapes (over 11 thousand tons) to the Russian Federation. And Uzbekistan is among the leading countries in the supply of cherries to the Russian Federation (24 thousand tons), nectarines (20 thousand tons), plums (5.8 thousand tons), fresh herbs (5.6 thousand tons).

It is characteristic that, for example, in January-August of this year. Russian import of melons from Azerbaijan increased 9 times, stone fruit three times, berry products twice. The supply of grapes to Russia from Armenia has almost doubled, and they have increased by the same amount from Uzbekistan. The import of fruits and vegetables from Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Abkhazia, South Ossetia to Russia has been increasing since the second half of August.

According to Rosselkhoznadzor data, as of mid-September, the CIS countries significantly increased the supply of so-called products to the Russian Federation. borsch set. Namely: in January – the first half of September, in comparison with the same period in 2020, the supply of potatoes increased 2.6 times; carrots – by 15%, beets – by almost 20%.

Having recently visited the Bryansk and Oryol regions, I was personally convinced of the wide presence of agricultural products from the neighboring countries in the trade network of these regions. In particular, fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, fresh herbs, spices from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan are presented in abundance at local fairs.

Moreover, suppliers from these countries strive to supply their products at low prices. So that, taking into account transport and storage costs, the final price of products would increase as little as possible. This is exactly what happens, judging by the fact that mass buyers buy these vegetables and fruits (to admit, he himself could not resist buying).

The advantages of a free trade zone (FTA) for the CIS are obvious. First of all, this is an increase in export revenues of neighboring countries, which is especially important for them, given that Western countries are actively buying industrial and energy raw materials, but food and industrial products, at best, hardly make their way to Western markets.

When the CIS FTA was formed in the early 2010s, it was considered expedient to draw up and adjust the annual and quarterly supply-demand balances of the participating countries for the entire product range. However, unfortunately, this recommendation has not yet been implemented within the entire zone. Such a prompt filling of the Russian fruit and vegetable market with a variety of vegetables and fruits from the CIS countries is a weighty argument in favor of such balances. In order to timely, moreover, on a multilateral basis, prevent the shortage of any products in the countries participating in the FTZ and, accordingly, its rise in price.


On September 18-26, Perm hosted an exhibition-fair of farm products from Russia and the CIS countries – “From Abkhazia to Kamchatka”. This event was attended by manufacturers from almost all countries of the former USSR (except for the Baltic ones).

The range of presented and sold products exceeded 150 product groups, including dried fruits, meat and fish semi-finished products, canned products, mineral waters, medicinal herbs. The volume of sales, in comparison with a similar exhibition-fair in 2020, increased by more than a third.

Alexey Chichkin

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