IN THREE TO FIVE YEARS RUSSIA MAY GAIN COMPETITIVE ABILITY IN AGROINDUSTRIAL SECTOR - EXPERTS

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MOSCOW, December 7 (RIA Novosti) - It will take Russia three to five years to become competitive in the agroindustrial complex. This follows from the study carried out by the Commodity and Food Exchanges' Union, the Committee for Agricultural and Food Policy of the Federation Council (the upper chamber of Russian parliament) told journalists.

The time is needed for, particularly, training a cadre for work in the sector and creating own national structures for the opposition to Western producers and the protection of own markets.

Having studied information arriving from every sectoral union and association in the agricultural sector, the committee has come to the conclusion that rehabilitation of the domestic farming sector will take time and a massive state support of at least 12 to 13 billion dollars annually, the committee's chairman Gennadi Gorbunov told journalists.

Commodity producers were unanimous that, without boosting the rate of introduction of energy-saving methods and equipment, efficient automatic management systems, it is virtually impossible to keep afloat in the new economic environment while joining the World Trade Organisation.

The Russian Grain Union warns that, in fulfilling the WTO demand to dump export subsidies which 35 of its members are actively following, the competitiveness of Russian grain on foreign markets will be much below other grain producers'.

The rejection of import quotation and the lowering of import custom tariffs on livestock products will cut the demand for Russian meat and dairy products, entail the curtailment of farm animals population, senators said.

Parliamentarians think it basically important to uphold, at the negotiations, Russia's right to quoting the import of sensitive primary agricultural materials and foods (rice, buckwheat, flour, vegetable oil, all kinds of meat, dairy products) for a period at least until 2012-2015.

Gennadi Gorbunov stressed that, before Russia joins the WTO, problems of the agroindustrial sector have to be seriously worked on, thorough preparations made for the maximal protection of the national interests.

"Until we create conditions when prices on fuels, electricity, transport tariffs are held back but are conducive to the growth of production, labour productivity, wages and the broadening of solvent demand, no foreign trade and no lower custom duties can decide anything", Gorbunov told journalists.

"There are two on the market - buyer and seller. One of them, as a rule, is fooled. Everything must be done for Russia not to fooled", Gennadi Gorbunov said.

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