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Russia considers grain export quota to stabilize domestic food prices

Russia considers grain export quota to stabilize domestic food prices
Russia is preparing a decree authorizing an introduction of a grain export quota and wheat export tax, according to the chairman of the Russian Union of Grain Exporters, Eduard Zernin.

He told the TASS news agency that the Ministry of Agriculture is currently working on the bill together with the Ministry of Economic Development. Zernin suggested that both the tax and the quota should be introduced simultaneously.

The Ministry of Agriculture earlier proposed to introduce a quota for the export of wheat and meslin, rye, barley, and corn in the amount of 15 million tons from February 15 to June 30, 2021. It does not apply to grain seeds and supplies destined for Eurasian Economic Union countries.

According to Zernin, the union has asked to tie the tax formula to a ton of products, not to the price of a contract. “I think that we will find a compromise option. ... We have repeatedly said that the country’s food security is the number-one task, and we will always find an acceptable mechanism on removing the surplus,” he said.

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On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin tasked the government with stabilizing the rising prices for bread, flour, sugar, and sunflower oil, with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin promising to take action.

“We must take concrete measures to effectively stabilize the prices of products that are important for people, in line with the instructions of the head of state,” Mishustin told a government meeting. “I would like to appeal to producers, heads of retail chains and, of course, exporters: do not take advantage of people,” he said.

The last time the export duty was introduced in Russia was on October 1, 2015 to stabilize the situation in the grain market. The amount of export tax changed several times before being canceled in September 2016.  

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