Russia Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said on Thursday that Serbia was ready to increase cheese exports to Russia in the next two weeks. “We will be ready to allow delivery of dairy products from Serbia if the country’s veterinary service is ready to provide guarantees,” the Russian agriculture minister said after meeting his Serbian counterpart Snezana Bogosavljevic-Boskovic.

Theoretically, new Serbian suppliers can start delivering dairy products to Russia in the next two or three weeks. “We are talking about huge milk-processing plants that intend to deliver their products, primarily cheese, to the Russian market,” Fyodorov said.

For the moment, 41 Serbian enterprises have the right to supply food to Russia but Serbia could increase their number if it is ready to take responsibility for these enterprises.

The Russian agriculture minister said that Russia was ready to grant accelerated access to the Russian market for 10-30 new Serbian suppliers.
“But Serbia needs to submit an application and be ready to be responsible for the activities of these enterprises,” Fyodorov stressed.

Fyodorov assumes that Russia and Serbia could double trade in agricultural produce from $270 to $500 million a year in a short period of time. He said that Russia-imposed food sanctions against the European Union were opening a unique chance for Serbian producers to enter the Russian market.

Russia, according to Fyodorov, is also interested in expanding imports of Serbian meat, fruit and vegetables.
Serbian Agriculture Minister Snezana Bogosavljevic-Boskovic said, in turn, her country wanted to participate in joint agricultural investment projects together with Russian businessmen. She said that the Danube could also be considered as a route for delivering Serbian products to Russia. Besides, the Serbian agriculture minister provided strong guarantees that Serbia would not allow the re-export of Russia-banned European food products through its territory.

“Our side is assuming great responsibility. We promise to do everything possible to control the export procedures,” the Serbian minister stressed, adding that Serbian agrarians were looking forward to building up agricultural exports to Russia.

On August 7, Russia banned imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheese, dairy products, fruit and vegetables from Australia, Canada, Norway, the US and the EU for one year as an answer to the Western sanctions.

Since then Russia has been in talks with Latin and South American countries, the Middle East and Asia to replace the banned imports. Many countries said they were ready to boost exports to Russia and Pakistan could be one of them.
Pakistan’s new Ambassador to Russia Zaheer Aslam Janjua told Sergei Dankvert, the head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control (Rosselkhoznadzor), at a meeting on Thursday that Pakistan was ready to replace banned Australian lamb imports in the Russian market.

Mr. Janjua stressed that Pakistan could exceed the amounts of lamb meat which Australia used to export to Russia. “Large beef supplies are also possible,” he said.

According to the Russian Customs Service, Australia exported $26.7 million worth of lamb meat to Russia in 2013. It was the second biggest lamb meat supplier to the Russian market after New Zealand ($23 million). The overall lamb exports to Russia are valued at $57 million.

Pakistan is also ready to start exporting dairy products and fish and increase the supplies of potato and citrus fruits.

The sides agreed to exchange technical data needed to start the supply of a new group of products.

Pakistan supplied $75 million worth of agricultural products to Russia in the first six months of 2014. By comparison, Pakistani agricultural exports to Russia were valued at $104 million in 2013.