Local companies may close after Kazakhstan enters WTO30 may 2013, 16:33
Major food and FMCG companies may stop operating once Kazakhstan enters the World Trade Organization (WTO), Director General of Ararat joint venture Rudik Mnatsakanyan told Tengrinews.kz.
According to him, local producers are not duly protected from imported goods that are often of doubtful quality. He also does not see any reason to import goods that can be produced by local companies.
“The yeast plant in Kazakhstan is located in Almaty. It can fully meet the need of the whole Kazakhstan for yeast but it is currently working only to 40-50 percent of its capacity. Meanwhile yeast of doubtful quality is imported from China, Russia and Turkey. What is the need in that? Our local producers are not protected by our government,” Mnatsakanyan said.
He also stressed that entering the WTO will not only bring no benefits to Kazakhstan, but will instead cause local producers to incur losses because the market will be filled with cheaper and inferior quality goods.
Rudik Mnatsakanyan. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
“Belarus is not letting anyone in, Russia does not allow import of alcohol. Let’s also protect our market and our producers. If we are protected from foreign supplies, then, I think, our producers will improve the quality and increase the quantity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan businessmen are talking about a noticeable decline in wine production in Kazakhstan. According to Rudik Mnatsakanyan, the number of vineyards shrank almost 6-fold in the last 20 years. There are currently not more than 3-4 thousand hectares of vineyards compared to 27 thousand hectares in 1990. The remaining vineyards are in a bad condition, according to Mnatsakanyan.
He believes that the reason of the decline of production of grapes in Kazakhstan lays in the fact that this crop is very difficult to grow. The grapes are used in production of sparkling wines and cognac, but growing it is very costly and requires a whole set of agrotechnical procedures that local farmers do not have.
“I met with the Agriculture Minister last year and talked about the decline in wine production. Now look what is happening in the stores. We cannot supply our goods to Russia or Belarus. Belarus has a monopoly and Russia has many barriers,” Mnatsakanyan said.
He has stressed that local food stores are selling mainly imported goods and Kazakhstan goods are placed in the worse positions on shelves: in corners or at bottom shelves.
“Even if they sell local goods, they place them in the bottom, not at the eye level. The shops do not accept anything for sale free of charge. We need a law that will oblige the shops to have 70-80 percent of locally-made goods among the goods they sell, and to sell local goods free of charge, so that we don’t pay for shelves,” Mnatsakanyan stressed.