Russian fish exports to EU defy sanctions, spark competition, criticism

(MENAFN) The Russian Fishery Industry Association (VARPE) has reported that Russian fish exports to the European Union (EU) have surged by nearly 20 percent in 2022. According to the latest review released by VARPE, European Union imports of fish from Russia increased by 18.7 percent year-on-year, totaling 198.8 thousand tons based on data provided by Eurostat. The value of Russian fish exports to the bloc also soared by 57.6 percent to euro940 million (over USD1 billion), with the Netherlands, Poland, and Germany being the biggest buyers.

White fish products accounted for 47 percent of the total volume of shipments, and for 54.7 percent in monetary terms. Meanwhile, pollock products made up 41 percent in terms of value and 32.3 percent in monetary terms. Russia contributed to 4.5 percent of the European Union's total 4.4 million tons of fish and seafood imports in 2022.

The European Union is one of the most attractive world markets for fish producers, and Russia is one of the major suppliers of white fish to the bloc, along with China, Norway, and the United States. According to the president of VARPE, German Zverev, the increase in exports was likely due to wholesalers and processors increasing their stocks in anticipation of possible sanctions on Russian fish.

The increase in Russian fish exports to the European Union is a significant development, considering the economic sanctions imposed on Russia following its annexation of Crimea in 2014. The sanctions, which targeted Russia's financial, energy, and defense sectors, also included restrictions on imports of Russian fish and seafood into the European Union. However, this latest data suggests that the sanctions have not had a significant impact on the Russian fishing industry's ability to export to the European Union.

The surge in Russian fish exports to the European Union could have implications for the bloc's domestic fishing industries, as they may face increased competition from Russian imports. The European Union may also face criticism for importing Russian fish despite tensions between the bloc and Russia over various political and economic issues. Overall, the increase in Russian fish exports to the European Union highlights the complex nature of international trade and the challenges of balancing political tensions with economic interests.



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