The Russian delegation is going to draw the attention of roundtable participants to problems that, in Russia's opinion, arise between Russia and the EU in farming produce trade as a result of EU expansion. As is known, 10 more countries are to become EU members in May.
According to Russia's Agriculture Ministry, this country can be loosing over $300 million a year because of changed terms of trade alone.
For instance, grain import quoting in the EU will automatically be introduced by the new EU members, and will have a negative effect on Russia's grain export, the Russian Agriculture Ministry says.
In the Ministry's opinion, access of Russian meat to the European market poses another problem, as some requirements to the new EU members in fact blocks the way of Russian livestock produce to Europe.
Of no smaller importance is the question of signing a common veterinary certificate. It is pointed out in the document that Russia regards the European Union as a single economic area, and all matters associated with both the import of meat by Russia and its export from Russia will be decided according to common rules for both the present EU members and the ten countries that will join it on May 1 this year. Russia intends to eliminate the system of double standards, because at present, while importing meat from Europe the Russian veterinarians work with each European country separately, and they want to have a guarantee that the imported produce of not only a single country but of the European community as a whole is safe, all the more so, since the EU borders will be moved closer to Russia pretty soon.
Russia is concerned also over the problem of duties. The common level of tariff protection in the European Union after its expansion will be raised, while import duties for some goods in the new member countries will become higher.
The countries entering the EU will most likely become more dependent on food deliveries from other EU countries and will be more isolated from export from third countries. Furthermore, it is supposed in Moscow that their import will most probably be reduced due to the growth of home output of agricultural produce.
According to the information available to Moscow, these apprehensions are still more grounded because several programs of increasing the level of self-sufficiency with foodstuffs in the new EU member states are already being actively carried out.
All this will have negative consequences for the sections of Russian agriculture that are oriented at export, and this may lead to reduction or even cessation of trade with the new members of the European Union.