Though no official order has been published, it is appears likely that Russia will reallocate the 2013 country-specific tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for frozen beef imported from the United States, the European Union and Costa Rica into the “all others” TRQ. The “all others” TRQ volume of 407,000 mt covers imports from all other beef-supplying countries approved to export to Russia. Consultations on this matter were recently held between the U.S. and Russia according to the rules for reallocating quotas that Russia agreed to as part of its accession to the WTO.
Due to Russia’s February suspension of U.S. beef imports, the U.S.-specific 60,000 mt TRQ for 2013 has been seriously underutilized. The EU’s 60,000 mt frozen beef TRQ and Costa Rica’s 3,000 mt TRQ have also been underutilized this year.* Reallocating the unused portions of these country-specific TRQs to the “all others” TRQ will allow Russian importers to secure additional product from other suppliers before the end of this year. But it is important to note that if Russia were to reopen the market to U.S. beef before the end of the year, importers would be able to use licenses under the “all others” TRQ to import beef from the United States.
It is also important to note that any reallocation of the 2013 TRQs does not change Russia’s obligations going forward. Russia is still required to implement a U.S.-specific, 60,000 mt TRQ in 2014 and every year thereafter. While these TRQs may also be reallocated, this must be done through the procedures that Russia agreed to as part of its accession to the WTO.
Russia’s beef imports within all of these TRQs are subject to a 15 percent duty, while out-of-quota imports are charged a duty of 50 percent.
*TRQ utilization (through August) has been 9,309 mt of frozen beef from the EU and essentially zero from the U.S. and Costa Rica.