The President of the National Union of food exporters Dmitry Bulatov — about what domestic products and how to promote abroad
The Russian government has high hopes for the development of export potential of domestic agriculture. So, this year the country is expected to record wheat harvest. Also look at the overseas market, the producers of sugar. Ambitious plans for a substantial increase in export volumes, say meat producers. However, according to the head of the National Union of food exporters Dmitry Bulatov, not for these products, you have to bet, while expanding exports. To sell abroad it is more expedient to produce the food industry — to leave a value added product produced in the country.
— Do you think the real plans of the Russian agricultural companies to essentially increase the export of its products?
— Honestly, I amazing the hype around the export of the same sugar or meat. Sugar is less than half a percent in the total volume of Russian exports of food. Meat we are exporting only $100 million — and poultry, and beef, and pork. Yes, last year the volume of export increased in two times. But it’s still a drop in the total volume of exported food.
But we pass over the products of our processing, such as great Russian sausages, which we, by the way, export is also $100 million But this is why you don’t. Our meat somehow does not show sufficient activity and do not present a United front, as a major meat producers.
— Do you think it is not necessary to increase exports of meat?
— Not a hindrance. It is necessary to increase exports of any product. The question is: why, when it comes to food exports, we are talking about the export of agricultural products and not processed products? After all, recycling the same grain or meat in the country, we leave the value-added here, we provide jobs, we pay taxes. Any country seeking to buy on the side of the raw material and process it.
— Export finished products, there are other obstacles?
— The same — different countries have different national standards. But, for example, many of our meat-packing plants produce the products according to the Russian GOST and international standards and it can already penetrate the markets of other countries. But these products should be actively promoted.
Except the external, there are internal obstacles to export development is a long and too complicated, customs clearance, long export VAT refund, etc. Large companies VAT returns in a timely manner — within two weeks. Suffering the bulk of small and medium enterprises that are just beginning to enter foreign markets. It is easier to sell goods in the neighboring area than to move it for export. In this case, since part of your investment back to you very soon. And export becomes simply unprofitable.
— We sort of developed a program of support of export of some agricultural products.
— We have a policy of support of export of some agricultural products are still evolving. The draft law on export support in the state Duma. The Ministry of agriculture in accordance with the instructions of the President developed the routine export development. And it is expected that the funds will be allocated in the next year. According to some, for these purposes will be laid down about 1.5 billion rubles. Despite the fact that food exports last year totaled $16 billion, this money, of course, very little. And, most importantly, it is not clear that they will stand out — on the export of raw materials or the finished product?
— What do you suggest?
The project subprogramme, which is submitted for discussion was clearly buggy, even for a first discussion. No clearly set goals, priorities. Not set out all the instruments of export support. It’s key points.
It is obvious that the aim of policy in the field of export food should be disclosure of the export potential of our agriculture. And the task is to output on a foreign market, the bulk of the companies which produce processed products.
Your suggestions contain some non-financial support measures. Do you think that exhibitions are more effective than cash grants?
Financial instruments clear — it is soft loans, preferential insurance and taxation. But the non-financial require less expenditure from the state budget. But the effect is much greater, as the practice in other countries.
If you now of any agricultural holding visits two or three exhibitions a year, with support from the state could attend 10 exhibitions to showcase our products in 10 countries.
Then, we only have one form of support of exhibition activity — subsidy per square meter of exhibition space. While in other States it is a whole range of measures — from the development of layouts of the stands, shipping samples, repayment of travel expenses, summarizing communications to the stand and ending with advertising campaigns.
We need to promote our products using catalogs, reference materials, specialized export publications. In America, for example, the journal American Taste. He has been published in Japan, in the Japanese language and for the promotion of American food in Japan. Funded by the issue of such publications by the exporters and the government.
Another form of non-financial support — market research. We have their enterprise to produce for its own account. And their foreign colleagues enjoy the support of the state.
For example, the law adopted and a subroutine was approved. What products would you recommend for export?
— Promising to export the finished products — flour, biscuits, sausages, canned meat and fish, dairy products, juice products and even ice cream.
Of course, we have a climatic advantage to be a world leader in the export of grain, primarily wheat. However, still insufficiently explored the possibility of export of rye and buckwheat. But if wheat is known in all countries of the world, something about the rye bread a little where know. Accordingly, we need a very big promotion. Buckwheat is not in all countries is needed. For example, the Japanese will not eat our buckwheat. But they have noodles made from buckwheat flour. So even the Japanese market for our buckwheat can be quite promising. The trouble is that we do these markets have not even worked and don’t know what our export capacity. The export of food industry products in cost is on par with export of agricultural products and is now 8% of our total non-oil exports.