(Adds Turkish reaction)
MOSCOW/HAMBURG May 24 Russia is negotiating
with Turkey in an effort to resolve a stop-start agriculture
trade dispute between the countries, the Kremlin said on
Wednesday, although Ankara disputed it had put curbs on imports
of Russian wheat.
As the largest buyer of Russian wheat behind Egypt, any move
by Turkey to restrict imports of the grain could put a
significant dent in Moscow's 2017/18 marketing year that starts
on July 1. Russia is one of the world's largest wheat exporters.
An analyst and traders told Reuters that Turkey has
introduced new curbs on Russian wheat, limiting purchases to
20-25 percent of all import licences issued for the commodity.
"Indeed, limits (on Russian wheat) are in place," Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
However, Turkey's economy ministry said it was not true that
restrictions had been put in place.
"Media reports that Turkey has introduced limitations on the
import of agricultural goods from Russia do not reflect the
truth, and Turkey remains committed to the agreements signed,"
it said in a statement.
Traders said the curbs were a reaction to Russia's earlier
ban on imports of Turkish tomatoes. Ankara imposed prohibitively
high import tariffs on Russian wheat from mid-March but resumed
purchases after a meeting of the countries' presidents on May 3.
Moscow has said that restrictions on tomato imports will
remain to protect Russian producers.
"Some restrictions remain in place from the Russian side due
to known reasons, which were explained in great detail to
Turkey's President in Sochi," Peskov said.
"Contacts and negotiations with the Turkish side are being
Andrey Sizov Jr, managing director of the SovEcon
agriculture consultancy, said the latest limits on Russian wheat
were imposed a couple of days ago, citing traders.
"Some of them say that they are not able to get licences,
others say that there is an informal limit on Russian wheat --
20-25 percent of total imports," Sizov added.
One Turkish wheat importer based in Russia said that
information about the 20-25 percent limit on wheat imports came
a day or two before Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's
visit to Turkey on Monday, during which he said that
restrictions on Turkish tomatoes were still in place.
A German trader said the new restrictions were imposed on
Russian wheat and also maize (corn).
"If you apply to import a certain tonnage of Russian corn
and wheat with an import licence, only 20 percent of your
approved quantity is allowed for import duty free," he said.
"I suspect this is part of a wider trade dispute because
Russia has not removed restrictions on Turkish products after
the recent agreement between Turkey and Russia."
Russian sunflower oil supplies to Turkey have also been
affected by the latest limits, Russia's Oil Union said.
(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov, Polina Devitt and Michael Hogan;
Additional reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu and Ece Toksabay in
Ankara; Editing by David Goodman and Elaine Hardcastle)