South African will begin seafood exports to Russia after the Eurasian country granted twelve seafood companies licences to supply canned and frozen fish.
This is the first since the late 1990s that South African fish will be exported to Russia on a commercial basis, said Felix Ratheb, chief executive of Cape Town-based Sea Harvest, one of the South African companies granted a licence.
The other 11 companies granted rights to supply seafood are Abagold Ltd, Compass Challenger, GSA Trades Pty Ltd, Harvest Atlantic Peace, Irvin & Johnson Limited, Kaytrad Coldstore, LAVERNE, Marine Products, Pioneer Fishing Pty Ltd, Sea Vuna Fishing Company Pty Ltd and Viking Fishing Co Pty Ltd.
Speaking to Reuters, Ratheb said Sea Harvest’s first exports to Russia were expected in early 2015 and would begin at about 500 tonnes a year, worth between R25-million to R40-million. South Africa’s total fish exports in 2012 were valued at R3.5-billion but this figure could increase if Russia becomes a major importer, according to Ratheb.
According to the Russian Embassy website the legal platform for the Russian-South African relations in trade and economy was launched in 1993 with the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation.
Other key treaties include the Agreement on Cooperation in Mining (1999), Agreement on Double Taxation Avoidance (2000) and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (2000).
South Africa is a leading Russian foreign trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Russian Embassy. Bilateral trade in the January to November 2013 period increased by 22.1% to US$998-million, compared to US$817-million from January to November 2012.
Russia’s exports increased by 59.1% to US$260.5-million, from US$163.7-million in January to November 2012, and imports grew by 12.9% to US$737.5-million. Mutual investments between the two countries are also massive. Russian investments in South Africa reached over US$1-billion in the last year.
Major Russian exports to South Africa comprise chemical and agro-industrial products, precious and base metals, coking coal, fertilisers, machinery, equipment, vehicles, tools, textiles, footwear and mineral products. On the other hand, South African exports to Russia are dominated by fruits, mineral products, machinery, equipment, vehicles, chemical products, precious and base metals, raw hides, textiles and footwear.