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Russian economy minister welcomes initiative to slash wheat duty to zero

August 22, 2016, 15:21 UTC+3

Russia has good chances of becoming the world’s biggest wheat export country

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© Kirill Kukhmar/TASS

SCHETINKA SETTLEMENT (Kursk Region), August 22. /TASS/. Russia’s Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukayev welcomes the initiative of the Agriculture Ministry to slash wheat duty to zero.

"I support it (the initiative). We have very decent chances of becoming the world’s biggest export country (in terms of wheat supplies - TASS). We’ll be able to stably sell more than 30 mln tonnes of grain," he said Monday, adding that he assumes "zeroed export duty would improve the balance."

Russia introduced the new export duty on wheat for one year on July 1, 2015 due to the growing activity of exporters who increased sales of grain on foreign markets and tried to profit from a sharp decline of the ruble. The duty rate was denominated in rubles at the current exchange rate. Currently, the export duty amounts to 50 per cent of the customs value minus 6,500 rubles per tonne, but not less than 10 rubles per tonne.

The Agriculture Ministry has already submitted the proposal on zeroing the wheat export duty by July 1, 2017 to the government.

Privation of United Grain Company

According to the minister,  the Russian government is not viewing privatization of the United Grain Company (UGC) as a priority projec.

"We are not practically working on the UGC. It is in the privatization plan but this is not an asset we are regarding as a priority one," Ulyukayev said.

UGC is not in privatization agenda for this year, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said earlier.

The Russian Federation holds 50% plus one share in UGC. Since 2009, the United Grain Company acts as an agent to carry out grain procurements to the intervention fund.

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