Russian vets tell more countries to export only from Russia-approved plants

June 5, 2007 16:19

Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Rosselkhoznadzor have started a massive switch to importation of seafood only from plants approved by the Russian authority.

Within the above guidelines, in a letter dated 20 April 2007 the Russian veterinary officials have circulated a list of countries restricted to supply finfish and other non-finfish products from approved plants only. The list included 7 states where restrictions are introduced as of different dates. In particular, all non-approved plants of Vietnam have been closed for Russian importers as of 25 April 2007. Russian traders say that as per early June 15-25 Vietnamese companies have been approved for export to Russia, but the market players have not yet received the official list of those approved companies, therefore seafood import from Vietnam remains suspended.

As of 1 May 2007 restrictions for seafood import to Russia have been introduced for Japan. Such countries as Uruguay, Argentina, South Korea and China are closed as of 1 June 2007, while shipments from Chile will be suspended as of 1 July 2007.

The above mentioned list of countries as quoted in the above letter is given as below:




1 June 2007


25 April 2007


1 May 2007


1 July 2007


1 June 2007


1 June 2007


1 June 2007

As the list is one and a half month old, as per early June 2007 some dates may have been amended. More specifically, according to informed trade sources, Argentina will remain open until 1 September 2007 and the Russian vets are supposed to check the Argentinean plants willing to export seafood to Russia until that date. However, neither Russian importers, nor Argentinean exporters know when the certification will take place and what they need to do to participate in it.

Russian market operators take all those restrictions actually as a temporary ban for import of more than 50% of food fish to the Russian Federation (less raw fish for production of marinated and smoked fish) or 80% of all fish fillets imported to Russia.

Russia's major seafood importer told that the market impact will be manifest in two-three months or so because of the inventories the Russian importers have built up in anticipation of the closures. Meanwhile, Vietnam is the only supplier of pangasius fillets to the Russian market, the supply of the product well exceeding one hundred thousand metric tons per year. If the supplies from Vietnam are not resumed in the foreseeable future, the inventories of the Russian importers will last until early September current.

China is the leading supplier of cheap whitefish fillets, in particular, it is in fact the only foreign supplier of Alaska pollock fillets to the Russian market. In that sector the supply problems are also expected as of autumn, if sufficient number of Chinese processors is not approved within the timescale.

Japan is a traditional supplier of expensive seafood and raw fish for elite sushi bars and high-class restaurants and this sector stands first to be affected.

South American countries supply mostly such species as hake, hoki and other food fish. Other countries which are not yet closed for export into Russia harvest the above mentioned fish in much smaller volumes or they do not target them at all.

Moreover, in the recent months Chile has been boosting its sales of Atlantic salmon and trout to Russia in view of the restrictions (now discontinued for at least 11 Norwegian exporters) for import of the fresh products from Norway. Therefore, restrictions for fish import from Chile are forecasted to result not only into a rise of salmon prices, but also into a lack of salmon and trout supply on the market should inspections and approval of Chilean processors be delayed.

Currently, except for Vietnam, the Russian veterinary inspectors have not yet visited any of the countries falling under the import restrictions and as per early June there was no information on the dates of those visits.

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