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By Olga Popova
MOSCOW, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Russia plans to start supplying frozen poultry to China by the end of 2018, the government said on Wednesday, ending several years of waiting for meat producers to gain access to the major market.
Domestic producers have boosted their output since 2014 when Moscow banned most Western food imports in reaction to sanctions imposed on Russia over the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and other factors.
They have also been betting on starting exports to China, a major market for pork, poultry and offal.
Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog and China’s customs service agreed on sanitary and veterinary requirements for the supply of frozen poultry on Wednesday as part of a visit by Russian officials, the Russian agriculture ministry said in a statement.
“Exports to China mean above all improved production profitability and sales of products which are not in demand in our market (like offal),” Sergei Yushin, President of the Russian Meat Association, told Reuters.
The opening of China market will help to develop Russian poultry production, which is now stagnating as markets such as Japan, South Korea and Europe remain closed for it, according to the association.
“China has been the highest priority in the export ambitions of Russian producers,” Yushin said, adding that the two countries would need to agree on the list of Russian producers for supplies to China now. (Reporting by Olga Popova Writing by Tom Balmforth and Polina Devitt Editing by Louise Heavens and David Stamp)