December 1, 2014
Russia okays seafood exports from 14 Sri Lanka firms
The Russian Federation has approved the entry of fish-product exports from 14 Sri Lankan companies, its Ministry of Agriculture said.
The ministry said the companies' products had passed the standards of the Federal Service of Veterinary Surveillance, which is under the agriculture ministry.
A Sri Lankan government statement said, "The fact that approval has been granted to export Sri Lankan fish products to Russia is testimony to the high quality and standard of Sri Lankan fish products supplied to the international market and the confidence reposed in Sri Lankan fish exporting companies meeting the strict standards of the Russian authorities."
Sri Lanka said it had made efforts to obtain the approval through its embassy in Russia and that the approval includes access, without Customs duties, to the Belarus and Kazakhstan republics, which have established a Customs Union with Russia.
It added that the approved companies would be able to export seafood under the categories of fresh or chilled fish, frozen fish, fish fillets and other fish meat, and dried or salted fish.
Based on data from the Russian Federal Customs Service, Russia imported last year 443,014 tonnes of fish and fish products (valued at US$1.58 billion) under those categories. During the first three quarters this year, Russia imported 484,000 tonnes of fish and fish products valued at US$1.42 billion.
Russia has increasingly sourced its meat and seafood supplies from non-traditional suppliers following the trade sanctions imposed by the EU and the US, as well as a few other countries, starting in March when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region.
Earlier in August, Russia authorised seafood imports from Peruvian, Chilean and South African firms.
Russia's seafood imports in terms of volume spiralled down by 19.2% during the first nine months compared with the same period last year, data showed. During this period, on August 7, Russia banned agricultural and food product imports--including meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk and dairy products--from Australia, Canada, the EU, the US and Norway to retaliate those countries' trade sanctions.
Even before August, imports of seafood from January to July already decreased by 16.5% year on year. The only months that the imports registered an increase were March and July.