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Thawing ice: Turkey and Russia to discuss lifting food embargos?

Reports from a variety of international news agencies are suggesting that Russia’s food sanctions on Turkey could be lifted.
According to Russian news outlet Sputnik News and Turkish publication the Daily Sabah Rosselkhoznadzor, the Russian body responsible for monitoring the quality of food imports, could consider the possibility of lifting bans on certain food products. 
The agency released a statement regarding the lifting of import restrictions: "Rosselkhoznadzor is concerned about the continued detection of organisms considered quarantined in Russia and calls on the Turkish side to adopt the measures that would effectively guarantee the supply of products, fully compliant with the standards and requirements stipulated by the legislation of Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. This will allow avoiding the introduction of temporary restrictions on the new types of Turkish vegetable products."
The statement came following a meeting between Rosselkhoznadzor authorities and a Turkish delegation from the Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry in Moscow in April 2016.
Could a possible resumption of food imports be on the cards? It is hard to say at this point. Fresh import bans have been put in place by Russian authorities.
Turkish aubergines, for example, were banned from entering Russian markets by Rosselkhoznadzor on April 25 2016. after they found “organisms that require quarantine” in some examples. Despite this, Turkish officials have made assurances that there won’t be any unwanted organisms, such as parasites, in food goods intended for Russian export.
According the Daily Sabah, Russia approached Turkey to discuss the possibility of a reduction in food prices in April 2016. Rosselkhoznadzor’s Vice President invited Turkish officials to discuss “technical issues” related to the import fresh fruit and vegetables, and it was here that the reported pricing debates took place.
However, it should be noted that the Daily Sabah was the only news outlet to on these talks, so the story should be taken with a grain of salt.
Despite this, it is known that a dialogue has been established between the respective Turkish and Russian parties. A resumption of trade will likely occur, but it is still a long way off.  Russian embargos remain in place. For now, Turkish producers and suppliers should keep their eyes on international markets. 

Image: © Fèlix González via Flickr


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