Russian Retailers Looking to Replace Chinese Food Imports

Russia’s largest retailers such as X5 Group and Magnit are looking for alternatives to Chinese food imports, The Bell reported.

Russia this week suspended visa-free travel for Chinese tourists and imposed a case-by-case regime of granting working visas to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The Far East regions bordering China are likely to feel the biggest impact of closed borders, as the prices for some fresh vegetable groups reportedly doubled, The Bell writes. China is the second-largest exporter of food products after Belarus, with $1.5 billion worth of exports in January-November 2019, mostly vegetables, fruits, fish and seafood.

Notably, the worsening of the situation with the coronavirus could also affect plans for tighter co-operation in the agricultural sector announced in 2019.

In September 2019 Russian agricultural major Rusagro signed the first deal on supplying sunflower pulp used in the production of oil and livestock feed to China. China is gradually opening its market to agricultural imports and increased imports of soybeans, grains and other products in September in the context of the U.S. trade wars.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) was reportedly considering buying into Rusagro as it prepares to boost agro co-operation and trade with China. The company already made the first shipment of soybeans to China and boosted its pork assets.