Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

A ban on direct imports of Russian fish was introduced in the United States a year ago. And now it will be added to the ban on the supply from third countries of products made from Russian salmon, cod, haddock and crab. Simply put, if China produced surimi (minced meat) from Russian pollock, these products cannot be supplied to the United States either.

The introduced measures are painful for the American fishing market, says German Zverev, president of the All-Russian Association of the Fishing Industry (VARPE). “The severe shortage of crab that arose after the ban introduced last summer has already led to an increase in crab prices in retail and HoReCa in the US itself. Now the situation will be aggravated by the shortage of cod “he told RG.

In his words, in the last 10 years cod catches in the United States have been reduced by half and the balance has been maintained, among other things, by importing Pacific cod from Russia. “Now the store is closed,” says the expert.

Imports of Russian pollock to the United States have been gradually drying up since 2014. Alaska’s pollock lobby has done the best it can: it has raised the price of its products. Russian fishermen had never before attempted to enter the American pink salmon market. Therefore, Zverev is sure that the painful impact of the US government’s decision will be felt by American consumers, and not by Russian fishermen. He also points out that in the last 20 years, fish has become one of the most traded food products on the world market (just after cereals).

“Therefore, economically inadequate, but politically motivated, barriers to established trade flows are destroying the global fish market as a whole, creating chaos and increasing the rate of food inflation. The initiators of these bans are highly dependent of fish imports and they are already feeling its consequences. “But the consequences will be greater. Let me remind you: the Great Depression of 1929-1933 began with unilateral customs and tariff barriers,” says Zverev.

The United States has already suffered from sanctions imposed a year ago on Russian crab supplies. Now the situation will be aggravated by the lack of cod. This threatens to increase prices in the US.

The US domestic market has been virtually closed to Russian pollock since 2014, notes Alexey Buglak, president of the Association of Pollock Harvesters (ADM). However, the United States imported between 20,000 and 25,000 tons of frozen pollock fillets from China, produced mainly from Russian raw materials. Now these supplies will be prohibited.

“From the point of view of the distribution of supply, this is not critical: there will be a redistribution of supply. The unoccupied niche in the American market will be replaced by Alaska pollock, and the corresponding volume in third country markets will be reduced replaced by Russian or Chinese-produced haddock fillets,” estimates Buglak.

However, in his opinion, this decision will undoubtedly lead to sanctioned inflation: an increase in prices for pollock fillets on the American domestic market and, consequently, for processed products, because American fillets are at least 1 /3 more expensive. Buglak believes Alaskan fish farmers pushed for the solution they needed to the detriment of American processors and consumers.



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