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March 14, 2019

Exporters asked to tap Russia’s food demand


March 14, 2019

KARACHI: Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) asked local exporters to increase exports of agriculture products to Russia that slapped ban on food imports from US and Europe.

Russia extended ban on the import of agricultural products from the countries that applied economic sanctions against Russia, including the United States and Europe.

TDAP said there is a vacuum that needs to be filled.

“As Pakistani citrus fruits have already received good response in Russian market, efforts can be made to promote awareness about other food products,” TDAP said in a report.

The exposure of the products can be maximised by taking part in Russian international trade shows, which can further build ways for business connectivity.

Russia experiences trade deficit with Pakistan. Trade deficit was at its maximum in 2015 when Pakistan imported commodities worth $96 million from Russia and exported goods of $298 million during the same year. After 2015, trade deficit considerably reduced and fell to $19 million in 2017, and according to the Federal Customs Service of Russia, the improvement was observed in 2017 and 2018.

A preferential trade agreement between Pakistan and Eurasian Economic Union is already in discussion, which could boost the trade relations between Pakistan and Russia and also pave way for Pakistan to enter other markets including Kazakhstan and Belarus.

TDAP said seafood, textile and surgical instruments are potential sectors in Russia where export considerably can be enhanced but the sectors need hierarchical changes and developments.

“Marketing strategies in the trade shows need to be re-drafted according to the tastes and trends of the target audience,” the authority said.

“For Russia, where people can hardly use English as a means of communication, translators are highly recommended for effective promotion of the products in trade shows.”

As the coal import for Russia has increased and Citrus fruits from Pakistan are finding their way in Russian market, the trade volume between the two countries is expected to increase further in the coming years.

TDAP said e-commerce and international advertising agencies can be used to enhance presence of Pakistani products in Russian market with 105 million users.

“In order to increase the competitiveness of Pakistani products, efforts can be made to reduce the heavy freight charges,” TDAP said.

“While the long shipment hour problem for perishable food products can be mitigated by arranging special flights directly from Pakistan to Russia with cold storage facility.”

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