Otabek Khazeev - Hva skjer i Norges nest største sjømatmarked?
RUSSIA:WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NORWAY SECONDLARGEST SALMON MARKET?Dear ladies and gentlemen,Thank you for the invitation and for the opportunity to speak at this meeting. We especiallywould like to thank the Norwegian Seafood Export Council. We have enjoyed fruitfulcooperation with the Council and hope to continue enjoying it in the future. The Council hasalways had a clear vision and transparent standpoint on the seafood export policy and thiscontributed very much to the development of cooperation between our countries. Thank youagain for the invitation to speak at this seminar.The Russian market of fresh salmon and trout has recovered its pre-crisis volumes, is growingand will continue to grow in the future. Market growth will be secured by higher degree ofprocessing of imported fish and higher market penetration in the different regions of the RussianFederation. Within 9 months of the current year Russia has already imported almost 73thousand tons of salmon and trout from Norway. The Norwegian Seafood Export Councilforecasts the export of Norwegian farmed salmon to Russia this year will grow by 25% incomparison to the previous year when the sales to Russia were record high. The forecast for thenext year is also very optimistic. We believe there will be 25% growth of Norwegian salmonimports to Russia year on year in 2012 subject to absence of any limitations in exports from theNorwegian side.The influence of Russian wild salmon catch on the dynamics of fresh farmed Norwegian salmonmarket has been very limited. Fresh farmed Norwegian salmon and trout and frozen Russianwild salmon are different products and their influence to each other is minor.The Russian market of fish and seafood has become an integral part of the common market forthree countries – Belorussia, Kazakhstan and Russia – after the Customs Union between those 1
countries has become effective. Furthermore Russia is going to become an integral part of WTOin the nearest future. Therefore inspection rules and export approvals issuance rules havealready changed and will become effective after Russia joins the WTO. While issuing exportapproval the appropriate officials in Russia, Kazakhstan and Belorussia must take inconsideration the opinions of their colleagues in other countries of the Union and furthermorethe issuing authority of a given country has to be in full consensus with the opinions of otherCustoms Union members. Kazakhstan, Belorussia and Russia already enjoy the commoncustoms and veterinary area. Veterinary documents issued by any veterinary inspector of theUnion member country are accepted throughout the Union.Rosselkhoznadzor officials, representatives of the main seafood market associations and majorfish and seafood market players met in Rosselkhoznadzor November 11th to discuss the situationaround attempts of the members of The Association of Fish Processing and Trading Companiesto monopolize the Russian market of Norwegian salmon and trout. During that meeting EvgeniyNepoklonov the Deputy Head of Rosselkhoznadzor informed the participants thatRosselkhoznadzor doesn’t have any market regulatory functions in terms of market dynamics onboth sides Russian and Norwegian. He said that it is not Rosselkhoznadzor’s purpose andobjective to control the number of players on any side of the border and influence theirinteraction with each other. Rosselkhoznadzor has neither rights nor means of influence forlimitation of the Norwegian salmon exporters’ number. The only Rosselkhoznadzor’s purposeand objective is fish safety and quality and the only legal tool to secure it is veterinarycontrol. The members of the Association has informed the participants of the meeting that theyas well only can ask their Norwegian partners to conclude exclusive long-term contracts anddon’t have any means of influence on the suppliers.At the same time many Russian seafood importers keep getting refusals for their requests topurchase salmon for cash money at prepayment terms at market prices from Norwegiansuppliers because of the limitations introduced by Mattilsynet allegedly in accordance withRosselkhoznadzor officials’ request. I bring to your attention the fact that we possess officialRosselkhoznadzor’s responses to our requests for clarification of this matter and these responsescontain clear and unequivocal answer that Rosselkhoznadzor has no right to introduce anylimitations of the Norwegian seafood exporters’ number. The only term and condition for fishexport to the Russian Federation and the Customs Union is the approval for export awarded byRosselkhoznadzor or its counterpart in the Customs Union member country and correspondenceof fish and seafood supplied to quality and safety requirements effective in the Customs Union.The present safety and quality control system for seafood imported from Norway has proved notto be perfect. The Fish Union will act in order to make Rosselkhoznadzor’s actions moretransparent and open to the public. The inspections of Norwegian producers and sampling forlaboratory tests have to acquire more systematic and fundamental nature. Not a single marketplayer should doubt the inspections will become more unbiased and at the same time there willbe no chance for producers to avoid inspections including those who signed exclusive contracts 2
with Russian importers. The most important for us is quality and safety of exported fish andseafood and the unified control procedures both towards Norwegian suppliers and Russianimporters. Rosselkhoznadzor firmly keeps this point of view and we fully support it. We are notagainst long-term contracts, we even support such actions. However we are totally againstbinding such long-term exclusive contracts with alleged Rosselkhoznadzor malicious actions.Such things undermine trust! It is an outright lie that if a Norwegian exporter doesn’t sign anexclusive contract its Customs Union exports approval will be discontinued. This is a techniqueused by several unfair importers. Rosselkhoznadzor safety and quality control system alreadyhas more fundamental and overall nature and it will become more perfect in the nearest future.If a Norwegian producer breaks the Customs Union rules then its export approval has to be withno doubt temporary barred. From the other hand Rosselkhoznadzor will be able to reissue theapproval for exports subject to Mattilsynet’s more prompt activity in determination of thecauses which had led to a breach of the rules. In the meat industry similar formalities namelyinspection, tests and re-issuance of the approval for export take approximately three months.This is normal practice.As I have already told you export-import operations between Norway and Russia will 100%take place without contract confirmation system. Sergey Dankvert – Head of Rosselkhoznadzorhas informed Interfax agency during his interview of November the 2nd about the Ministry’splans to this kind of trading rules and workflow simplification in the nearest future. Thus thereare no selected importers in Russia. Any company has the right to cooperate with anyNorwegian producer who has approval for exports.Exclusive contracts are private matter of every company however if those contracts areconcluded allegedly by the appointment of Rosselkhoznadzor those producers are not going toavoid repeated inspections. Exclusive contract with any Russian company is absolutely not aguarantee of immunity from Rosselkhoznadzor inspections and knowingly positive results ofinspections. In accordance with the current legislation seafood safety and quality requirementsare the same for everybody and Rosselkhoznadzor actions are not of selective nature. Publicseafood quality control is complementary measure for law enforcement in this area.Taking into consideration all which has been just said we would like to ask our Norwegianpartners:Have you got fish for exports to Russia?Is it safe and of the appropriate quality? Does it correspond to the Customs Union requirementsin terms of fish and seafood quality and safety?If yes then why contrary to all international free trade principles do you keep using non-marketfree trade limiting measures towards Russian importers? Why do you keep using those non-market free trade limitation tools when dealing with Russian importers? Why do you keeplimiting the free trade within Norway and why do you keep free market limitations introducedby Norwegian companies? I don’t think I have to explain why these non-market limitations are 3
evil. I’ll only tell you about the most important things: for Russian consumers it is the qualitydeterioration and sharp increase of prices and for Norwegian producers it is dependence onunpredictable factors and absence of freedom of maneuver in situations when market trends andenvironment change and are volatile. This kind of things is extremely dangerous for you in theenvironment of low prices and excess fish biomass.Many Russian companies – fish and seafood market players - would like to get answers to thesequestions because the support to the process of Russian fresh farmed salmon marketmonopolization rendered by the Norwegian companies directly contradicts the current Antitrustlegislation and is contrary to the international norms of law.We’ve got questions almost to all the producers who currently have approvals for export toCustoms Union: Why do you keep supporting such a system? Are you scared or is it a way tomake money? Everybody knows and discusses the actions and pressure of Associationmembers. They say to the Russian media in their interviews that you sign those exclusivecontracts voluntary BUT we think that it is not so. Such deception has been in place since 2006,it just can’t be so for ever. It is time to give public assessment to those events.We have a question to Mattilsynet:In accordance with the Russian rules any Russian company can supply seafood from anypacking station which has approval for exports. In accordance with Norwegian rules anyNorwegian exporter can supply fish to any country. An only for salmon exports to Russia youlimit the number of exporters by only one company. Why?There is great interest to this issue in Russia from all market participants. There is a heatedpublic discussion in the fish and seafood community and in the media. Russian government hasinitiated the following procedures: Federal Antitrust Service is investigating the case againstRosselkhoznadzor about the illegal limitation of competition in fish import; the Ministry forEconomic Development is collecting the information on the same topic from the market players;Government commission headed by Vice Prime Minister Mr. Zubkov has ordered to prepare theproposals for transfer of veterinary control over seafood to the Federal Fishing Agency and toRospotrebnadzor. Yesterday the Federal Antitrust Service heard the case againstRosselkhoznadzor and the Fish Union participated in the hearings. Federal Antitrust Servicefound Rosselkoznadzor had broken the Antitrust law dew to the limitation of competition inseafood imports by rejecting in issuance of import permits to Russian importers based on theabsence of import contract confirmations from the appropriate foreign ministries. The officialtext of the decision will be available within 10 days. I’d like to take this opportunity to turn toyou – our Norwegian partners and colleagues – please discuss the problems arising on the wayof free trade in your professional and public communities, unions and associations, bring thesequestions in front of your government and appropriate Ministries. Only by discussing suchmatters in the public we will be able to achieve really effective and efficient long-term mutuallyprofitable relations! 4