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Norwegian Fish Exports to Russia Threatened Again

Russian federal sanitary watchdog – Rosselkhoznadzor –
claims that imports of health-hazardous products from Norway to Russia are
growing. Lab tests reveal salmonella in salmon, and enteric bacteria in
Atlantic salmon and king crab, Barentsnova.no writes.

Rosselkhoznadzor has sent a letter to Norwegian food control
authorities expressing a serious concern on the current situation that ‘may
restrict imports of Norwegian fish, sea and fish products to Russia and other
countries of the Customs union’.

According to Rosselkhoznadzor, despite guarantees secured by
the Norwegian side, imports of fish that is dangerous in sanitary terms have
recently become of frequent occurrence.

Russian Monopoly
against Norwegian Producers

The Russian veterinary agency Rosselkhoznadzor was
previously found guilty for illegally having limited number of importers from
Norway in order to create a monopoly. The decision of federal anti-monopoly
Service (FAS) in Norway had made the industry. The Norwegian salmon producers
were said to be afraid to lose the Russian market if they criticize the agency.

– If our business enters into exclusive long term contract,
then the Russian veterinary agency "finds" bacteria in our fish
products, says one of the Norwegian producers to NRK.

Previously, three Norwegian salmon producers had been
excluded from the Russian market. Russian authorities suggested that they can
use this practice as a countermeasure against Norwegian fish conservation
policy.

Russia is Norway’s
Largest Market

The value of exports of Norwegian seafood in January totaled
NOK 53 billion according to the latest figures from the Norwegian Seafood
Council. France and Russia are by far the two most important markets with
almost NOK 11 billion of the total sales. The export to Russia amounts to NOK
5.2 billion. This makes Russia as the most important market, while France
retains its second place with an export value of NOK 5.1 billion. The growth in
the Russian market over the last decade has been enormous. In a period of two
weeks at the end of 2011 Norway exported the same amount of salmon to Russia as
the country did in the whole of 2000, according to website kyst.no.  

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