“It’s more political than destabilizing for the markets,” according to the consulting firm Agritel

Arthur Portier, consultant at Agritel, a consulting firm specializing in agricultural and agro-industrial markets, estimates Friday on Franceinfo that the measure envisaged by the European Union is not likely to upset the market.



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Illustrative image.  (MATTHIAS BEIN / DPA)

“When we look at the share of European imports from Russia of agricultural raw materials, it is a tiny part”indicated Friday March 22 on franceinfo Arthur Portier, consultant at Agritel, a consulting firm specializing in agricultural and agro-industrial markets, The European Union has proposed imposing customs duties “prohibitive” on Russian agricultural products imported into the Union. These products are currently exempt, much to the dismay of European farmers. The EU therefore wishes “dry” revenue allowing Moscow to finance its war in Ukraine. According to Arthur Portier, these customs duties imposed, “it’s more political than destabilizing for the markets”.

Taking the example of soft wheat, the Agritel consultant emphasizes that the EU has imported “since last July 6.4 million tonnes”with Russia counting “290,000 tonnes, in these 6.4 million tonnes. That represents less than 5%”. He recalls that, “according to WTO rules and so as not to add tension to the food issue, most Russian agricultural products were not subject to customs duties.”

“Russia has turned to other clients”

Arthur Portier specifies that in 2023, the EU has imported “around 1.5 million tonnes, all cereals included. We were at one million tonnes in 2022”. There is an increase “which is”according to him, “on the durum wheat sector, that is to say the raw material used to make pasta. And it is mainly Italy which is the importer of this raw material”. There is therefore, according to the consultant, “a subject” on the durum wheat sector and therefore “on the pasta sector”. But he assures that, “for the rest, this will not destabilize the markets for European agricultural raw materials”.

With these customs duties “prohibitive“, Brussels wishes “dry” Moscow’s revenues. But Arthur Portier explains that “Russia has turned to other clients, and is therefore not dependent for its exports on the sole client, the European Union”. Moscow won “a lot of market share, particularly in countries traditionally served by Western Europe and particularly France”. He mentions in particular countries “from the African continent who turned towards Russia” which allowed Moscow to “naturally strengthen its diplomatic weight thanks to agricultural raw materials and in particular wheat”. Arthur Portier therefore doubts that “from a financial point of view, this changes the face of things a lot. For Russia, it is more of a political nature”.

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