According to data from the Russian Federal Customs Service, Russia mainly imports chilled and frozen beef from Argentina. Last year the supply of beef to Russia rose by 18% year on year and to about 8,000t with the total price of one tonne of beef standing at US$3,600. A decade ago Argentina was one of the largest suppliers of beef to Russia with annual sales volumes of about 150,000t.
Kirill Cherkasov, first deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma agrarian committee, said the recent meeting was focused not only on increasing food supplies but also on tightening control over the quality of products.
"It is likely that agreements on the supply of meat products will be signed, and there may also be agreement on tightening controls, because there were problems with Argentina and Brazil over the quality of delivered products," said Cherkasov.
However, he added that, in reality, much will depend on Argentina, as redirection of meat production supplies takes a lot of time, "so it remains unknown how fast and how much they will be able to redirect to Russia".
State Duma member and deputy chairman of agrarian committee Sergey Doronin suggested that Argentina may become one of the most important suppliers of meat to Russia.
"Argentina is one of the largest beef producers, and the country is also engaged in pig production. So, since we have imposed sanctions on imports from the EU and the US, these volumes will be replaced by other countries, including Argentina," he said.
At the same time, industry experts say Argentina will not be able to rapidly boost supply volumes to Russia, particularly given the restrictions on meat exports that are currently operating in the country.
"Argentina will be able to help the Russian market with supplies of beef and poultry, but will not be able to dramatically [increase the supplies]. Last year the country delivered about 15,000t of meat to Russia. It is clear that Argentina does not have the potential to replace the 200,000t of poultry that previously came to Russia from the US," said Daniel Khotko, an expert at the Russian Institute of Agricultural Studies.
The Consortium of Argentine Meat Exporters also said the potential for Argentine meat exports wass limited, due to a reduction in livestock and the rules restricting exports of meat produced in the country.
The Russian government is also negotiating with other suppliers of meat products on increasing deliveries to the market. In particular, Belarus meat exporters are already planning to double the volume of supplies from 100,000t in 2013 to almost 200,000t by 2015. Also supply volumes may increase from Turkey, which is already exporting products from the "sanction list" to the tune of US$1.2 billion per year and is able to increase this figure.