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Russian officials request tweaks to proposal on grain export quota


Russian officials have requested additional work on the agriculture ministry’s idea of introducing a grain export quota, the economy ministry said on Thursday.


The agriculture ministry came up with the proposal in January, looking to set a January-June quota for grain exports at 20m tonnes, subject to government approval.


A team of Russian officials in charge of reviewing such non-tariff measures considered the proposal at its February 25 meeting, the economy ministry said.


"It was decided that this proposal requires additional work," it said.


Russia’s agriculture ministry said it was asked to perform additional work on the proposal and take into account rules of the World Trade Organization and data accounting in a customs-free zone that Russia shares with some of its neighbours.


Russian analysts and traders, who largely oppose the proposed quota, have said it would add to potential trade risks in general. They also say that risks for actual January-June exports are small because Russia’s grain supplies are unlikely to reach 20m tonnes for the period.


The agriculture ministry for the world’s largest wheat exporter is likely to keep on pushing the idea forward, said Alexander Korbut, deputy head of the Russian Grain Union.


The union, a non-government farmers’ lobby group, will continue to oppose the idea.


"Our work continues, we are not going to stop," Korbut said.


Russia exported 27m tonnes of grain between the July 1 start of the 2019-20 season and February 20. The exports were down 19% from a year earlier.

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