Kazakhstan may restrict Russian imports: media19 february 2015, 01:31
The possibility of Kazakhstan limiting imports from Russia has been widely discussed by the media, Tengrinews reports.
Citing its sources in the Russian Ministry of Agriculture Kommersant.ru claimed that Astana was insisting on introducing a ban or limiting imports of Russian products because of the devaluation of the ruble, which depreciated by 47% against the tenge.
The goods purportedly in question are petroleum products, motor vehicles and car batteries, construction fittings, cables and wires, glass, chicken meat and eggs, pasta and confectionery products, flour and juices.
The source in the Ministry of Agriculture also said negotiations to resolve the problems in mutual trade had been underway for over a week but "no sufficient justification for the imposition of the restrictions has been not provided."
The statistics of the Customs Union do not confirm that there is a sharp rise in the imports of goods from Russia to Kazakhstan, but it does not take into account the small wholesale shipments and goods imported by individuals that have been on the increase lately. At the moment, experts of the two countries are checking the volumes and prices of the imports.
In addition, according to the source, Kazakhstan wants to impose restrictions on the import of oil products from Russia for half a year. As for vehicles imported from Russia, quotas or vendor licensing of cars may be introduced.
Earlier, authorities of Pavlodar Oblast addressed First Deputy Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev with a proposal to temporarily ban imports from Russia, because their local enterprises were experiencing severe problems due to the imbalance of prices.
In turn, Sagintayev noted that the government was looking for a way out of the situation. "Prime Minister [Karim Massimov] is arriving in Moscow; there will be a meeting with Dmitry Medvedev. They will be talking about the Customs Union. Here we will hold a separate meeting to discuss particular issues. We need to discuss how to protect our goods, what we and they can do, what we can offer. Preliminarily, we are talking about applying voluntary restrictions on some goods. They also understand that the situation is not easy for us," Sagintaev replied to the Pavlodar authorities.
Kazakh expert Olzhas Khudaibergenov said that introducing restrictions on imports from Russia was a measure quite appropriate under the circumstances.
By Dinara Urazova