As talks with Russia in the fields of contracting, logistics, fresh fruits and vegetables progress, news keeps coming - Russia plans a 5 percent tax on orange imports.
Although normalization of Turkey-Russia relations, strained after the downing of a Russian aircraft on the Syrian border in November 2015, has started, the issue of lifting sanctions on imports of certain agricultural products from Turkey still remains unresolved.
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci visited Russia at the beginning of this week and met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. After returning from Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Şimşek said: "Our negotiations were fruitful. A technical delegation will come from Russia next week. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich will come to Turkey May 6-7 and we will hold final talks."
Meanwhile, according to yesterday's headline news in the Russian Izvetsiya newspaper, Eurasian Economic Association (EEA) countries, including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, plan to levy a 5-13 percent customs tax on imports of agricultural products, such as grapes, palm, pistachios and Brussels sprout. The draft, currently in progress, will be settled on April 27. EEA countries have allowed duty-free entry of oranges since Jan. 2. The application was extended until the end of the year. The biggest loss from the application will be on Turkish products. According to the report, EEB is in talks with Egypt, Iran and Israel for a "duty-free regime" for these products.
Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich also announced it would not be possible to remove Russia's ban before restrictions imposed by Turkey on grain products are lifted. Speaking to reporters at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum, Dvorkovich said: "The issue of removing restrictions on grain products is unconditionally important to us. No steps will be taken on our side without this. We do not even have the slightest chance to lift our sanctions before the grain ban is lifted. If grains are allowed, then there are actions we are ready to settle." It is claimed that a regulation has been issued including tax hikes of 130 percent on wheat and corn and 45 percent, 36 percent, 13.5 percent and 9.7 percent on rice, sunflower oil, sunflower pulp and pulses, respectively, Turkey imports from Russia. Russian ban on poultry (chicken and turkey), tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, grapes, apples, pears and strawberries is still in force.