Igor Shustov, first deputy chairman of the Belarusian state food industry concern Belgospishcheprom, commented on the situation regarding Belarus’ sugar export to Russia.
“There have been no official complaints. We have been working on the Russian market year in, year out, on the basis of mutual understanding with our Russian colleagues. We got everything organized over the past eight years. There has not been a single dispute,” Igor Shustov underlined as he commented on the proposal to restrict Russia’s sugar import from Kazakhstan and Belarus recently published in Russian mass media.
Igor Shustov explained the emerging tensions with the export of sugar to Russia by the overproduction of sugar in this country for the second year in a row.
“They have had a large sugar beet harvest for the second year in a row. This has resulted in the overproduction of sugar, which, in turn, has made prices go down,” he clarified and remarked that wholesale sugar prices had plummeted by over 60%.
Igor Shustov emphasized that Belarus was a small player on the Russian market.
“By no means do we have any impact on the prices in Russia. We export about 200,000 tons of sugar per annum while Russia consumes from 5.5 to 5.6 million tons,” he said.
Moreover, Belarus sells only beet sugar into Russia, Igor Shustov recalled.
“We have concluded long-term contracts and developed long-term relations with Russian consumers. They got used to our sugar. There is no problem or dispute. This is all about business,” the Belgospishcheprom representative underlined.
In his words, currently the food industry concern is not engaged in any talks over sugar export to Russia.
“We do not need any more negotiations. We always keep in touch. There are associations: a Belarusian one, a Russian, and a Eurasian. We always communicate in these organizations. No need for additional negotiations and decisions. There are some problematic issues regarding the formation of the market in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Some countries have preferential treatment and it is necessary to sort things out to create equal conditions,” Igor Shustov added.
He clarified that the introduction of restrictions on sugar exports in the EAEU was out of the question.
“Any prohibitive measures and non-tariff regulations are simply forbidden by the EAEU legislation. Regular cooperation is underway. We know Russian manufacturers well, and they know us. We regularly meet, hold seminars, and share experience. This is just the situation that has developed on the sugar market. It was just the opposite four years ago,” Igor Shustov summarized.
According to Russian mass media, Russian Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev suggested imposing restrictions on Russia’s sugar import from Kazakhstan and Belarus. He voiced concerns that the import had a negative impact on the business environment for Russian sugar manufacturers. (BelTA/Business World Magazine)