Erdogan Removes One Barrier to Russian Wheat, Then Introduces Another
Sales of Russian wheat to Turkey are facing another hurdle after Ankara introduced a new law limiting Russian imports to 25 percent of the total amount of grain imported. Russia's leading exporters confirmed the information reported by business daily Vedomosti on Wednesday.
The new law comes after Turkey promised earlier this month to lift a 130 percent tariff on Russian wheat, which made business impossible for Russian exporters.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the pledge on May 3 after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
Ankara also imposed restrictions on duty-free supplies of Russian sunflower oil.
“We want to protect ourselves if we have problems with some country so that we will not be left with nothing,” he said.
Moscow is Ankara's primary partner in the agricultural sector. In recent years, Turkey produced 75 percent of its flour from Russian wheat, according to Vedomosti.
Tit-for-tat trade restrictions between Russia and Turkey date back to November 2015, when Turkey downed a Russian jet in Syria.
This month, both countries agreed to lift the restrictions. However, President Putin said Russia would not import Turkish tomatoes, as local farmers have taken out significant loans to boost domestic production and construct greenhouse facilities, so lifting restrictions now will hurt them.
Putin added Russia would only buy tomatoes from Turkey when the domestic harvest does not meet demand.
Before the deterioration in relations, 70 percent of Turkish tomatoes were exported to Russia.
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