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Experts Cautious Over Food Exports to Russia
Domestic Economy

Experts Cautious Over Food Exports to Russia

Iran welcomes the idea of exporting food to Russia but only if Moscow stops trying to determine prices, said an official in Tehran Chamber of Commerce. 
“In addition, we need to see if we are able to produce sufficient food products for domestic market and then whether we can stay in the Russian market for a long term,” said Ahmad Pourfallah.
Russia has recently come under US and EU sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine. The sanctions have so far affected Russia’s financial and energy sectors. Moscow, in response, has hit back by stopping imports of food products from Europe. 
On August 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree “banning or limiting” imports of agricultural products from all nations that imposed sanctions on his country, suggesting that he has no intention of bending to economic pressure from the West.
Since then, Russians have seen Iran as an alternative to supply their food requirements. They already sent a trade delegation to Tehran to negotiate with Iranian authorities on the matter.
But critics in Tehran say Iran’s food is not sufficient for domestic demand. 
“As we largely depend on food imports, we cannot provide Russians with food,” said Masoud Azadegan, foreign mercantile manager of the Government Trade Company on Tuesday. 
Even proponents, like Pourfallah, believe that agricultural products with high water requirements must not be exported, as Iran is facing a water crisis. He also warned the government against solely exporting to Russia, noting that “Moscow relies on our help only when it is desperate.” 
The agriculture ministry has set up a working group to assess how to expand exports to Russia, which is currently limited to chicken, meat, and eggs.
Earlier in the week, Russians sent a trade delegation to Tehran to negotiate imports of foodstuff, including shrimps. Before that, in August, officials from the two sides signed an agreement to expand ties in the field of energy, machinery, consumer goods, and agricultural products. 

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