According to preliminary estimates, in 2014 total poultry meat imports from Argentina to Russia amounted to 20,000 tonnes (t), approximately 25% more than in 2013. The volume of beef supplied reached 16,200t – up 26% year-on-year.
The prospects for export of meat from Argentina to Russia are primarily connected with the food embargo imposed by the Russian government in August of 2014, against the US, the European Union (EU), Canada, Australia and Norway. However, according to Russia’s trade representative in Argentina, Sergey Derkach, the supply of poultry meat from Argentina was already growing in the first half of 2014, before the introduction of the embargo.
"If you compare the supply of meat products for the period of January-September 2013 and the same period of 2014, they amounted to US$124 million and US$167m respectively. Sales increased most significantly in the period from July-September of 2014," he said.
According to Derkach, the order of the day is to increase exports of chicken meat to the country, for which Argentina is not subject to quotas or export duties. It has also been forecast that Argentina could increase the volume of its beef exports to Russia by five or six times. However, to do this, the country needs to lift export restrictions.
Fears that Argentina could supply the Russian market with products of low quality, or which violate the veterinary rules of the Customs Union, apparently have not materialised, as Russian veterinary body Rosselkhoznadzor has not received any complaints so far.
"We have been working with Argentina’s National Service for Agrifood Health and Quality for the past 15 years, and we have not had any complaints. In fact, we have much more understanding with our Argentine colleagues than with veterinary colleagues in many other countries, including the countries of the European Union, because our colleagues from Europe usually prefer to argue and debate, while Argentine colleagues meet our requirements," said head of Rosselkhoznadzor Sergei Dankvert.
In general, Russian officials pointed out on the high quality of production and the well-organised production processes at Argentinian meat production businesses.
"At the end of November, I visited a poultry processing company and left with a very good impression: modern equipment and high levels of sanitation," said Derkach. "According to the firm’s management, the company previously supplied Russia with an average of 40t per month, and in September and October shipments jumped to 500t per month."
According to Russian authorities, Argentina has the potential to almost double exports of meat in 2015 to 60,000t, or US$600m, including 40,000t of poultry. At the same time, it is projected that, in 2015, the total value of food imports from Argentina to Russia will grow twofold to US$1.8bn-$2bn.