After joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in August of last year, Russia reduced the tariff on pork imports within the quota to 0% from 15%, while the tariff on pork imports out of quota was reduced to 65% from 75%. Import duties on live pigs were decreased by eight times – from 40% to 5%. These changes led to a sharp increase in imports and a fall in the profitability of domestic pig farming.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s preliminary plans, import duties will be returned to their previous level.
“To stabilise the pork market we are currently working on introducing a specific duty on the import of pork out of quota, as well as increasing duties on live pigs, and excluding meat and processed meat products, including pork, from the list of goods imported from developing countries with tariff preferences,” said Federov.
The Agriculture Ministry also plans to create a state programme to support the medium-term competitiveness of the domestic pig industry.
“I am convinced we need a medium-term programme of support to save the competitive pig industry in Russia,” Fedorov said, adding that his Ministry had already provided relevant information to the government. He explained that such a program was necessary for the industry to remain competitive, especially with the problems that have emerged in the industry following drought and Russia’s entry into the WTO.
However, experts pointed out that the increase in pork duty would violate the rules of the WTO.
“If such actions are taken, the country will face lots of complaints, especially from the US and the EU, and you can be sure that unless these actions are justified within the special procedure, Russia will suffer economic sanctions,” said a government representative.