Industry's Associations discussing Prospects for National Fisheries under WTO

June 19, 2012 22:55

The Fisheries sector of Russia may use WTO mechanisms to remove barriers for promotion of products to some countries. Such barriers exist in the form of special registration of exporters, complicated and sophisticated procedure of passing such registration, reports with reference to Russian Pollock Association.

According to the President of the Association, Mr. German Zverev, joining WTO will lead to cancellation of export duties for fish products which will reduce the fiscal load on the sector by 3 billion rubles. The competition in the domestic market with imported products will increase to force the fishing processing sector into implementation of the latest technologies of production and control over product quality. Thus, joining WTO will affect the sector rather positively.

Meanwhile, according to the President of the Fishermen of Sakhalin Alexander Popov, the optimal way for the industry to meet the challenge of accession to WTO would be to transfer all the enterprises of the fishery sector, irrespective of the number of personnel, to the single agricultural tax. The expert also noted that while joining WTO the benefits for the sector will have to be abolished. Accordingly, it is necessary to consider now forms of compensation for this step. For example, it would be instrumental to stop considering as beneficial the current rate of payment for the right to catch water biological resources, to keep as long as possible the import duties for import of fish into the country and cancel export duties at all. Reduction of the duties for import into the country of fishery equipment not made in Russia, according to Popov, would also substantially ease the life of the business.

But, the most important thing, the unified economic zone for the fishery should be introduced as fast as possible (now there is a split into inshore and offshore fishery), and the social and economic development of the coastal area should be resolved with complex support of both the federal government and the regions, underlined the President of the Association. While now, the inshore fishermen catching fish in the coastal zone even have no right to process fish at sea, the law says they should land the catch for processing. Meanwhile, in middle Kuril Islands, where there are no land-based factories at all, it is absolutely impossible to comply with the regulations.

The domestic market

Nowadays, one the major problems of the Russian domestic market is absence of correct logistic chains to deliver biological resources from their place of catch in the Far East to major consumer areas in the European part of the country. The fishermen often face the obstacles created by authorities as per making veterinary accompanying documents for products. They also have to fight the consequences of wrong exploitation of the water bio-resources of the Russian Federation by catchers from neighboring countries.

It is necessary to attract private investments in port terminals and state investments in near-port railway and auto transport entry ways. Besides, it is necessary to reorganize the vet supervision over fish products for domestic deliveries. Now, this supervision has turned into a barrier for the business (especially, for small businesses).

Outlook for 2012

Prices will increase for herring due to reduction of total allowable catch for Atlantic herring. The prices for salmon will remain at the last year level. In general, the trend for appreciation of fish products will stay further on because the world catch of fish products has stayed at 90 million tonnes for over thirty years, while the global population has grown from 5 to 7 billion people over the same time.

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