China expands Russian wheat market; move unrelated to situation in Ukraine, analyst says

Wheat from all producing regions of Russia will be cleared for export to China, provided it meets certain requirements, China’s customs authority said in a statement on Thursday.

Although the announcement was made on the same day as the Russian military operation against Ukraine, it has no relation to the Russian-Ukrainian situation, Chinese analysts said.

The announcement of the new arrangements is unrelated to developments in Ukraine, as the negotiations were concluded at an earlier date, Cui Heng, assistant researcher at the Center for Russian Studies at the University, told the Global Times on Thursday. East China Normal University.

According to a bilateral agreement signed by Russian agricultural and Chinese customs authorities in early February, Russian wheat from all producing regions can now be exported to China, according to the statement posted on the website of the General Administration of Customs.

Cui said the new rule will benefit wheat exports from Russia’s Far East, where many Chinese companies have engaged in agriculture and previously could only sell their produce in the Russian market.

The seven former wheat producing regions authorized for export are not located in the Far East.

The price of wheat in Russia is only a third of that of the Chinese market, which gives it an advantage, but the new rule does not mean that wheat imports will be increased because China still imposes an import quota on wheat imports, Cui said.

But Russian wheat must meet the quarantine requirements of the Chinese authorities, and all shipments must bear a note that “the wheat consignment complies with the requirements specified in the Protocol on Phytosanitary Requirements for Wheat Exported from the Federation of Russia to the People’s Republic of China and is free from wheat dwarf bunt Tilletia controversa JG Kuhn.

Dwarf bunt is a destructive disease that reduces grain yield and quality and is of particular concern to Chinese authorities.

Russian authorities should also take preventive measures in accordance with the International Plant Protection Convention and related international standards to monitor pests and provide an annual dwarf bunt monitoring report to China.

If dwarf bunt is detected, the Russian side must immediately inform the Chinese authorities and suspend wheat exports from the affected regions.

While Sino-Russian trade has seen accelerated growth in recent years, exports of Russian agricultural products to China have also increased.

In 2021, while bilateral trade jumped 26.6% year-on-year to 948.66 billion yuan ($150 billion), Russian exports of seed oil, barley and beef to the China surged. Barley exports increased 12-fold to 75,000 tonnes from 2020 levels.
Source: GlobalTimes

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