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Russian food embargo encourages Chinese fruit, vegetable exports — expert

BEIJING, August 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s embargo on the deliveries of certain food products from the European Union, Australia, Canada, Norway and the United States will result in the growth of fruit and vegetable supply from China, a Chinese expert said on Thursday.

China’s exports of vegetables and fruit to Russia will increase on the year results by 80% to 3 billion yuan ($487.6 million), said Cao Xinyi, general manager of Dili Group’s subsidiary in Mudanjiang, a city in the Heilongjiang province. Dili is engaged in the establishment of a Russian-Chinese vegetable and fruit trade zone.

He said in an interview with the China Daily that “Russia’s ban on vegetables and fruit from the US and EU is encouraging our exports, which are gaining momentum". “Judging from our future orders, this boost is obvious and will become stronger in the second half of this year,” Cao said.

Zhang Jianping, a researcher at the Institute for International Economic Research at the National Development and Reform Commission, said the boost to Chinese fruit and vegetable sales in Russia will be hard to estimate in the short term. “’Europe and Russia are both exchanging blows and we have to wait and see how long this lasts,” Zhang said.

“If the EU and Russia standoff continues or deteriorates ... in the medium to long term, there is an opportunity for Chinese agricultural enterprises to increase their global strategy and operations and production in Eastern Europe, from where they can enter the Russian market.”

Previous reports said it is planned to create a fruit and vegetable trade zone in Dongning County (China’s north-eastern Heilongjiang Province) on the border with Russia. According to China Daily, another such zone will be opened in Suifenhe in the same province.

In the first six months of 2014, the exports of Chinese fruit and vegetables to Russia increased by 20% (in annual terms), reaching 800 million yuan ($130 million).

On August 7, in response to the West’s sanctions against Russia over the developments in Ukraine, Moscow announced the total ban on the supplies of beef, pork, vegetables and fruit, poultry meat, fish, cheeses, milk and dairy products from the EU countries, from Australia, Canada, Norway and the United States.