The State Duma will not postpone the introduction of drug labeling

Deputies do not plan to amend the legislation related to the postponement of the introduction of mandatory labeling of drugs, but they will suggest that the Government provide for a transitional period.

According to the current legislation, the labeling of drugs should become mandatory from July 1, 2020, however, a number of pharmaceutical market participants turned to parliamentarians with a proposal to postpone this period. On June 3, this issue was discussed at a meeting of the working group.

“We agreed that we will not make changes to the legislation regarding the timing of the introduction of marking. Nevertheless, we believe that a certain transition period is needed, a system of measures is needed that would ensure safe entry into the labeling system” – said Andrei Isaev.

The parliamentarian recalled that the Ministry of Industry and Trade already has experience in labeling a number of goods and, at the initial stage, administrative responsibility for those who for various reasons did not meet these criteria of the legislation was not applied.

Russia surpasses Saudi Arabia as China’s top supplier of crude

China’s imports of Russian oil have risen 18 percent in April year-on-year, according to Reuters, citing Chinese customs data. Shipments reached 7.2 million tons, equivalent to 1.75 million barrels per day (bpd).

To compare, 1.49 million bpd was delivered by Russia in April 2019 and 1.66 million bpd this March. Statistics showed that Russia overtook Saudi Arabia, as supplies from the kingdom dropped to 1.26 million bpd, down from 1.53 million bpd in April 2019 and 1.7 million bpd in March.

China’s total crude oil imports in April amounted to 9.84 million bpd, up from 9.68 million bpd in March, but well below 10.64 million bpd in April last year. Still, imports during the first four months of the year were up 1.7 percent on a year earlier.

According to analyst estimates, average utilization rates at independent refineries (the so-called ‘teapots’) grew to nearly 70 percent in late April, compared to their pre-pandemic level. State-backed refiners will not climb back to their normal level until May, analysts say.

Refinitiv’s oil research team projects China’s May imports to hit an all-time high of 53.7 million tons, or 12.7 million bpd, with record volumes from OPEC producers. This month, for the first time since November, Chinese refiners will also receive their first crude cargo from the US. The shipment was booked in March, when oil prices started crashing.

Russia and Azerbaijan to take measures to safeguard cooperation from pandemic

Relevant agencies of Russia and Azerbaijan are carrying out active works to prevent a serious rollback in trade and economic cooperation due to the coronavirus pandemic, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko told a press conference Thursday.

Rudenko noted that in the last few years the countries had been ramping up the trade and economic cooperation. “As a result of last year, the Russian-Azeri trade rose by more than 27% to reach $3.2 billion. Of course, the pandemic is likely to affect this year’s statistic but it is vital that the relevant agencies of our countries be focused on energetic joint work to prevent us from falling backwards,” he said.

The ban on the import of fuel into Russia entered into force

Today, June 2, a temporary ban on the import of fuel into Russia comes into force. The ban applies to gasoline, diesel fuel, marine fuel, gas oil and will be valid until October 1, 2020. The ban on the import of petroleum products is introduced in Russia for the first time.

The Russian government banned the import of AI-80, AI-92, AI-95, kerosene, summer, winter, off-season, Arctic and other diesel fuel, marine fuel with a flash point in a closed crucible of at least 61 degrees C, as well as gas oil.

This prohibition does not apply to fuel that is transported from one subject of the Russian Federation to another at the border crossing, as well as fuel imported into Russia before the entry into force of this resolution. In addition, fuel that is stored in technological tanks and is necessary for use on a trip through Russia does not fall under it.

The Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation emphasized that the ban on the import of petroleum products is designed to prevent overstocking in the domestic market and the closure of domestic refineries amid a sharp decline in fuel demand.

Russian Agriculture Ministry keeps export outlook at $25 bln in 2020

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture keeps the forecast for exports of agricultural produce in the amount of $25 bln in 2020, Minister Dmitry Patrushev said on Wednesday.

“We have already supplied products worth $9.4 bln overseas in this year. This is $1.5 bln more than as of the like date of the last year. The target for 2020 is $25 bln,” the minister said.

Uralkali signs deal on potash deliveries to India

Uralkali signed a contract for the supply of potash to India in 2020 at a price of $230 per tonne on the terms of delivery to the buyer’s port, the company said on Thursday.

“Uralkali, one of the world’s largest potash producers, announces that Uralkali Trading, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uralkali, has concluded a contract with Indian Potash Limited (IPL), major Indian importer of fertilizers, for potash deliveries until the end of 2020,” the report said.

The company said that the contract price reflects the current market situation, “in contrast to the commercial terms of the Chinese contract, which were considered suboptimal by most companies in the industry.”

“Uralkali believes that overall the price parameters of this agreement reflect the current market environment and consider the interests of both consumers and producers equally in the economic crisis, while supporting the Company’s position in one of its key markets,” Uralkali Trading CEO Alexander Terletsky commented on the deal.

Uralkali is one of the world’s largest potash producers and exporters. The company’s assets consist of 5 mines and 7 ore treatment plants in Russia. The company’s shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange.

Rosselkhoznadzor limited supplies from two Belarusian dairy plants

In connection with the repeated detection of violations of the veterinary-sanitary Rosselkhoznadzor, from May 23, it imposes temporary restrictions on the supply to Russia of products made at two Belarusian dairy plants.

The prohibition of the Volozhinsky production site of OJSC Molodechno Dairy Plant fell under the ban. The reason is the re-detection of antibiotics of the tetracycline group (doxycycline) in sweet cream butter.

The products of OJSC “Milk World” are also banned from import into the Russian Federation due to the re-identification of S. aureus (Staphylococcus aureus) in kefir.

New year-round port to link Russian Arctic sea route with Asia in 2025

About $5 million has been invested in the construction of a deepwater year-round port near Indiga, a settlement on Russia’s Barents Sea coast, according to the Arkhangelsk Region’s Acting Governor Alexander Tsybulsky.

He told reporters that exploration and geological work has already been completed at the site. Construction is expected to start next year and be completed in 2025. Investment in the project may exceed 300 billion rubles (over $4 billion).

The new hub will have the capacity to handle 80-200 million tons of cargo per year, dealing with shipping from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Japan and China. The new port will primarily handle shipments of coking coal, wood, fertilizers, chemical products and paper.

Tsybulsky expects a major economic boost if the new Arctic-bound railway, Belkomur, is connected to the Indiga port. “We will be able to handle most export cargo, which is now shipped via St. Petersburg, and thereby offer economic conditions for our investors to be able to develop here more actively and not waste money on transport,” he said. “On the other hand, we will boost the economy, including that of the Northern Sea Route.”

The Belkomur project is a new rail line, which will connect the industrial regions of Siberia and the Urals with ports in Russia’s north and north-west. The international railway route across Russia (between Russia’s European north and China) will cut the distance for deliveries from Siberia and the Urals by 800km. The route will offer the shortest access to the Northern Sea Route’s major ports (Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Belomorsk and Sabetta, and in the future, Indiga and others).

“We can create the Asia – Northern Sea Route transport corridor. When combined, these two projects – the construction of a port in Indiga and the Belkomur railway – will provide the necessary economic base, which they lacked separately,” said the acting governor.

Russia increases exports to China

The volume of bilateral Russian-Chinese trade in the first quarter of 2020 increased by 3.4% to $ 25.35 billion.

At the same time, Russian exports increased by 17.3% and amounted to 16.2 billion dollars, while Chinese exports to Russia decreased by 14.6%. According to the results of the first quarter of 2020, Russia entered the top ten trading partners of the PRC, having risen one position and overtaking Brazil. In the list of trade partners of China, Russia is now in 10th place (excluding Hong Kong – in 9th).

According to the PRC Main Customs Administration (GTU), in the first quarter of this year, the structure of Russian exports to China for the first time in the past few years has undergone significant changes. The second position after mineral fuels, having overtaken wood, came in the supply of agricultural products and food products, whose exports increased by more than a third (an increase of 35% against almost 13% a year earlier) and exceeded $ 1 billion. At the same time, supplies of fats and oils of animal and vegetable origin grew four times in value terms (up to $ 183 million), while sales of fish products, which is the largest article of Russian food exports to China, slowed down the growth rate – from 29.8% to 4.3% (up to $ 566.3 million).

Non-ferrous metals also overtook wood, moving to third place in the structure of Russian exports to China. Supplies increased by 12.8% to $ 795.5 million. The main driver of growth was the export of copper and its products (+ 31.1%).

For a long time, the second largest Russian export item “wood and wood products”, as a result of a 21.3% reduction in supplies (to $ 792.3 million), moved to fourth place.

The Russian trade mission in China recommends that Russian entrepreneurs pay attention to the tendency to increase the demand for Russian food and agricultural products in China.

Belarus prepares proposals for reform of EAEU customs code

The EAEU Customs Code expects significant changes. Belarus is already preparing its amendment proposals. The republic talked about the reasons for the work initiated by the ECE to change the rules.

The EAEU member countries initiated the start of work to amend the current Customs Code of the Union, the press service of the State Customs Committee of Belarus said on May 21. By August 1, 2020, initiatives from Belarus should be sent to the EEC.

Earlier, the committee at the parliament of Belarus also announced the possibility of changes in the Union regulations due to the need to support Belarusian manufacturers in foreign markets due to the spread of COVID-19 and the decline in exports.