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* - import less export divided by the overall domestic consumption including personal consumption, processing, losses and change of stocks (ending stocks less beginning stocks).

Source: Own calculations based on RF Goskomstat data.

New import tariffs to be effective in 2001illustrate a differentiated approach of the government to each commodity depending on the domestic market situation. Beginning from January 2001import tariffs on butter, some kinds of meat subproducts, finished, salt and canned fish, fresh, canned and frozen vegetables, canned fruits, jams and natural grape vines have been lowered. At the same time tariffs on imported condensed milk and cream, yoghurts and meat products became higher.

The policy of export restrictions, initiated in 1999, was continued in 2000. It envisaged the imposition of export tariffs on fish and canned fish products (5%), oilseeds (10% but not less than 20Euro per ton of soybeans and rape and not less than 15Euro per ton of sunflower seeds) and ethyl alcohol (6.5%).

The customs duty on oilseeds helped to accumulate raw resources for growing domestic production of sunflower oil. In 2000its output increased by 53.7% as compared to 1999level. The export of sunflower oil in January-September 2000was record high exceeding the corresponding 1999volume 22fold. However, despite restrictions the Russian export of sunflower seeds in January-September 2000grew 6fold, of rape seeds - 10fold. The fact is due to limited efficiency of the imposed customs duty given the difference between domestic and world prices. In 1999the purchase price for sunflower seeds on the domestic market was about US$112per ton while an average export contract price exceeded US$180per ton. This difference in prices makes export of sunflower seeds beneficial for exporters. The world price fully covers their expenses on paying export tariffs. In 2001the government plans to rise the customs duty on exported sunflower seeds. At present the world prices for this product resumed their growth (Picture 1). In case the situation on the oilseeds market doesn't change, sunflower seeds export will remain profitable despite higher customs duties.

Picture 1.

Source: Grains Association Herald, 04(71).

This year the EU countries introduced a temporary ban on using meat and bone meal in animal feeds in order to stop the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy disease. They plan to satisfy additional demand for feed additives by increasing the import of oilseeds (soybeans, rape and sunflower), their meal being the basic equivalent of meat and bone meal. This decision may have a positive effect on the Russia's oilseeds export. At the same time processing of additional oilseeds volumes will possibly increase the output of vegetable oils and aggravate the situation on this market which is already oversaturated with cheap oils. These developments may be negative for the respective Russian export which in 2000was record high for the first time since many years.

In 2001the seasonal regulation of foreign trade in grains is going to be a radical innovation. The grain flows management of this kind is connected with the state interventions on this market. Grain import restrictions in the form of seasonal customs duties will be effective in autumn - the period when grain is abundant and the government purchases it. Export restrictions will be enforced in spring when the government plans to market grain.

Thus, in 2000-early 2001the government policy of regulating foreign trade in agrifood commodities was more rigid and targeted as compared to the previous years. As a rule, it was designed to meet the interests of processors and traders, and only then - those of agricultural producers. In 2000domestic agriculture and food industry increased the output of some agrifood commodities, and were able not only to cover domestic demand but to expand export. In order to sustain the emerging positive trends in agrifood sector in 2001the government has to elaborate the policies of regulating foreign trade in agricultural and food commodities based on a certain product differentiation depending on resources for domestic production. The growth of agrifood exports in 2000helped to curtail the negative balance of foreign trade in food items. It is a very positive sign given that the revenues from Russia's export of agricultural and food products cover only 10-15% of expenses on importing commodities of this group. Accordingly the government export regulation should be targeted at creating conditions for fair competition of domestic food with food produced in other countries.

N. Karlova

1 The total payment to the Paris Club in February 2001 amounted to approximately $1.3 billion.

2 According to our estimates, the Bank of Russia intervened with up to $2 billion in January and February in the interbank foreign exchange market to smooth fluctuations of ruble/US$ exchange rate. Hence, taking into account the final increase of foreign reserves, the gross emission for the period concerned reached 85 billion rubles, while the net emission equaled about minus 20 billion rubles.

3 We also regard deposits in the CBR as unprofitable operations as the interest paid on them is much lower than the market rate.

4 For the example, according to results of the audit, the RF Accounting Chamber proposed to the Government to revise the results of the privatization of two aircraft-building companies (‘Aviacor’ and ‘Aviastar’). The Duma’s request on checking the privatization of a stake of TNK (USD 66.7 mln. worth 49.806% stake plus an investment program worth USD 185.2 mln.) was submitted to the Accounting Chamber in summer 2000. There is a remaining problem of the return of stocks under the government’s control, according to cancellation of the respective contracts with the winners in commercial tenders held prior to the adoption of the privatization law in 1997 ( Volzhsky Pipe Plant, Ust-Ilimsky paper and Pulp Plant). Nonetheless, for example, in November 2000 the Moscow court rendered a verdict on cancellation of the results of an auction held in 1994 on the sale of a 29% stake of ‘Spahire’ plant (high- precision weapons) and the return of the stake to the Russian Fund for Federal Property.

5 See: Radygin A., Sidiriv I. Rossiyslkaya Korporativnaya Ekonomika: sto let odinochestva In: Voprosy Ekonomiki, 2000, # 5, pp. 45-61

6 In particular, the proportion of banks in the overall volume of funding of investment in capital assets makes up a. 6%, and slid to 4% over the first half 2000. See: Vestnik Banka Rossii, # 63-64, 2000

7 The analysis of the statistics over eralier periods appears complicated due to the lack of a full compatibility of the data on loans caused by the banks’ transition to the new Accounts Plan. One can argue that in the first half 1998the loans denominated in foreign exchange continued their growth against the backdrop of the contracting imports, however it became impossible to single out that part that fell on hard currency- denominated loans issued to non-residents in late-1997.

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