While sector representatives in Russia find it realistic for Turkish food exports to take their place on store shelves within a week or so, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation foresees that the sale of Turkish vegetable and fruit exports in the Russian market will lower prices in the country, which have seen an increase this year.
Following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Putin instructed the Russian government to take steps towards the normalization of relations, resulting in a decision to place Turkish food exports back on Russian store shelves in a couple of weeks.
Representatives of some big food retail chains in Russia expect the lifting of sanctions on imports from Turkey will allow Turkish goods to return to Russian markets over the next few weeks.
Regarding the issue, the foreign relations' director of the Russian Retail Association
(AKORT), Ksenia Burdanova, said in remarks to Ria Novosti that the sector works in accordance with orders coming from the government and that the expected timetable is a realistic amount of time for the imports from Turkey to head to Russia.
Also, the purchasing director of the Russian Metro Cash & Carry said that their firm has an international structure and cooperatives with Turkish partners could begin in a week.
In line with these remarks, the foreign relations director of Auchan markets, Mariya Kurnosova, noted that one week is enough for Turkish goods to take their place in Russian markets.
On the other hand, speaking to Russian news agency Ria Novosti, a representative from the Russian ministry expressed that the return of Turkish goods will automatically increase supply and this will, in turn, lead to a fall in food prices.
After Turkey downed a Russian warplane for violating its airspace near the Syrian border on Nov. 24 last year, the furious Russian government announced sanctions on Turkey in response.
Turkish food imports were blocked at Russian border gates after Jan. 1 and since it has not been easy for Russia to find alternatives to some fruit and vegetables, Moscow had some serious difficulty in implementing sanctions on products. Moreover, as food prices were up due to decreasing supply and the Russian economy suffering from low oil prices and Western sanctions stemming from the Ukrainian crisis, the economy also faces significant inflation.
On Jan. 1, the price of one tomato in Russia reached TL 6 ($2.08). Despite increasing imports from the Czech Republic, China, Poland and the Middle East, Russia has not been able to slow the increase in prices, due to logistical costs and expanding legal procedures. Russians spent 50.1 percent of its income on food in February. The price of tomatoes increased 5.2 percent in April, and fruit prices increased nearly 20 percent over the first four months of 2016. Since the price of food has the greatest effect on inflation, Russia sought rapprochement with Turkey.
Russia's central bank announced that it expects inflation to come in at around 6 percent in 2016, which will bring the country closer to its 4 percent target for 2017. However, a panel of analysts surveyed by Focus Economics does not conform to the central bank's outlook, instead forecasting inflation at 7.4 percent for 2016, falling to 6 percent in 2017. With an economy depressed by tumbling oil prices and Western sanctions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts for the Russian economy in its latest World Economic Outlook report in April indicate that it will not grow in 2016 but will rather shrink by 1.8 percent. In 2017, the IMF forecasts modest growth of 0.8 percent.Russia re-launches charter flights to Turkey
In line with the process of the lifting of sanctions, Russia decided to re-launch charter flights to Turkey. The Kremlin had previously banned the sale of tour packages and charter flights to Turkey, and in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order to extend Russian economic sanctions against Turkey. Ranging from food to travel, the sanctions were imposed after Nov. 24.