Lithuanian meat producers and exporters would be deprived of a possibility to compete on the Russian market if Russia increases import duties on meat and meat products.
Experts say the Russian market is of interest to Lithuanian businesses, but fairly high import duties slow down imports of meat production to Russia.
In late November, the Russian Agriculture Ministry proposed to raise an import duty on Lithuanian pork and beef from 15 percent to 18 percent and 25 percent, respectively, and to raise the duty on poultry from 25 percent to 35 percent. Moreover, it has been recommended to introduce an annual import quota on beef, pork and poultry, at 1.51 million tons in total.
Gediminas Radzevicius, president of the Lithuanian Association of Meat Processors, said Lithuania exported meat products rather than raw meat to Russia this year. However, there is little room for increasing exports due to high import duties.
"If import duties are increased, the Russian market may be closed to us," Radzevicius said.
The proposal to increase import duties on pork imports in Russia had been proposed in order to protect the Russian market from subsidized products from EU countries.
"The EU has a possibility of subsidizing meat and meat product export to other countries and offers very cheap beef and pork to the Russian market. The Lithuanian government can't help meat producers to export the surplus of production to Russia, therefore Lithuanian companies do this from their own resources," Radzevicius said.
In his words, following Lithuania's accession to the EU, Lithuania will have the option of using the same privileges as EU member states, which will enable Lithuania to compete on the Russian market.
Lithuania exported a total of 7,060 tons of meat and meat products this year.