Turkish Food Exporters Seek Cuts in Russian Customs Duties

Turkish food exporters are seeking cuts in Russian import duties to boost their share of the vast Russian market where Western food imports have been banned.

According to Zechariah Mete, chairman of Turkey's association of grocery products exporters, they are not seeking preferential treatment by Moscow.

"We request that duties (for Turkey) are set equal to those for the EU. There is no reason to put Turkey in another tax category," ITAR-TASS quoted Mete as saying on Tuesday.

Russia banned food imports from the EU, the US, Canada, Norway and Australia last month in response to Western economic sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis.

While Turkey doesn't support the sanctions, Russian customs duties levied on imports of Turkish grocery products remain twice as high compared to those imposed on imports from the EU, Mete added.

According to Mete, if Russian import duties are lowered, Turkish food producers hope to boost exports to Russia to USD 3 B next year from USD 1.2 B in 2013.

Turkey is ready to export fish, poultry, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, confectionery, cereals and oil seeds. 

According to Hidayet Kadiroglu, head of the association's confectionery division, Turkey also plans to increase sweets exports to Russia to USD 80 M next year from about USD 37 M last year to tap into growing interest from Russian companies towards partners from countries that don't support Western sanctions against Moscow.

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