The Customs Union composed of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan recently published a decision establishing tariff rate quotas (TRQ) for meat imports in 2012.

As U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Senior Vice President Thad Lively explains, this is an unusual year because these TRQs will only be in effect until the Russian legislature votes on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) later this year. From that date forward, the market access terms in Russia’s WTO accession agreement will apply for the remainder of the year on a pro rata basis.    

On the pork side, Russia has eliminated the country-specific quota that was open only to U.S. pork. This can actually be a positive development, however, because now the United States can participate in the 400,000 metric ton TRQ that is open to all countries – an arrangement that should offer greater growth potential for U.S. pork exports to Russia. On another positive note, Russia’s in-quota tariff rate for pork will remain 15 percent for most of this year, but is scheduled for elimination when Russia’s WTO accession terms are implemented.   

The United States still has a country-specific TRQ for frozen beef exports to Russia, but it will be larger than ever in 2012. The TRQ nearly doubled when it grew from 21,700 metric tons in 2010 to 41,700 metric tons last year. In 2012, the quota will be further expanded to 60,000 metric tons. The in-quota tariff rate for beef is also 15 percent, and this rate is scheduled to be in effect both before and after Russia’s WTO accession terms are implemented.