Turkey will export dairy products to Russia amid the Kremlin’s continuing trade dispute with the United States and the European Union, with talks between Ankara and Moscow on harmonizing regulations nearing completion, according to a dairy industrialist.
Russia responded to Western sanctions against its policies on Ukraine by banning fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, on Aug. 7. Turkey is seeking to engage in a longterm trade alliance with Russia, Turkish Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker pointed out. The embargo offers new opportunities for Turkey, said Harun Çallı, the head of the Packaged Milk and Dairy Products Association, in an interview with Anadolu Agency. The obstacles on selling dairy products to Russia were removed after talks between the Turkish Agriculture Ministry and the Russian Plant Quarantine Services, he said. “Even gaining a 5 percent share in the Russian market would be a great earning for the sector,” he said. Dairy industrialists recently visited Russia to inspect the market, he said, noting that 80 percent of Turkish firms fulfill requirements to conduct dairy exports to Russia. Turkey ranks 16th in world milk production and has been increasing output around 10 percent a year. “Turkey needed a market to meet such growth in milk production. Thus, Russia emerged as a good opportunity,” Çallı said. Still, Turkish output is likely to fall short in meeting the needs of the Russian market in full, he said, while predicting that the country’s dispute with the U.S. and the EU would not last long. Officials in Turkey have predicted a near doubling of their fruit and vegetable exports to Russia. Turkey is currently the fifth biggest exporter of food to Russia, its neighbor across the Black Sea, making sales worth $1.68 billion last year. Russia’s food imports from the countries that have now been subjected to sanctions was worth about $9 billion annually.