Russia, China sign accords on grain quality control


Reuters — Moscow and Beijing have signed agreements on the control of grain quality, which technically open the Chinese market to Russian grain.

Russian food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor and the Chinese government body in charge of quality control signed two food safety documents on Russian wheat, corn (maize), rapeseed, soybean and rice supplies at a ceremony in Beijing.

The documents were signed along with other deals during Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to China, the Russian government press service told Reuters.

Interfax news agency said the Rosselkhoznadzor head Sergei Dankvert had previously said these agreements would open up the Chinese market for Russian wheat. Russia has been in talks on supplying grain to China for several years.

But one Moscow-based trader said the agreements signed on Thursday would make only small volumes of grain from Russia competitive in China.

China has agreed to allow Russian wheat supplies only from several Siberian regions — the Altai, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk and Omsk, Rosselkhoznadzor representative Yuliya Melano told Reuters.

Melano said China had originally asked for wheat supplies in bags only, but Russia has managed to remove this condition.

Supplies of corn, rapeseed, soybean and rice are now allowed from Russia’s far east regions, including Khabarovsk, Primorsk, Baikal and Amur, she also said.

“These moves will lead to some supplies but they will be small,” the Moscow-based trader said. He said that the agreements would provide some additional demand for Russia’s grain in Siberia.

Russia is currently one of the world’s largest wheat exporters to North Africa and the Middle East and its key wheat exporting and producing regions are based in the south of the country. Russia is expected to get a bumper crop of more than 100 million tonnes for the third year in a row in 2016.

Reporting for Reuters by Olesya Astakhova and Polina Devitt.

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