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Russia can find other grain export routes if Western sanctions continue -- Chinese expert

Russia can find alternative grain supply routes if Western sanctions continue, the executive director of the Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Sun Qi, has told TASS, commenting on prospects of the grain deal.

"Speaking of prospects of the Black Sea grain transportation deal: the current extension period, agreed with the Russian side, was earlier reduced from the initial 120 days to 60 days. If the sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and the West remain unchanged, the Russian side will opt for dodging restrictions related to international payment systems and for finding new routes for exporting its grain," the expert said.

Sun Qi reiterated that the essence of the Black Sea grain transportation deal was to enable both Russia and Ukraine to export their agricultural products amid the ongoing conflict. Moreover, both sides were supposed to work for stabilizing global food prices and supporting third world countries. However, as the deal was being implemented, the Russian side pointed to the fact that it facilitated only Ukraine's agricultural exports, de-facto becoming a one-sided agreement.

"Two major exporters of agricultural products [Russia and Ukraine] are facing constant difficulties. The news is not very good for the global food market. If main obstacles for food deliveries are not duly removed, there will be a global imbalance in food prices. Countries that are experiencing food shortages will no longer be able to buy, while those with plenty of food will have no chance of selling. It can be predicted with certainty that global food prices will fluctuate in the upcoming period," the Chinese expert added.

On July 22, 2022, a package of documents on the supply of food and fertilizers to the international market was signed in Istanbul. Initially, the agreements were concluded for 120 days, in November of last year they were extended for the same period. On March 18, 2023, Russia announced a 60-day extension of the deal, warning that this would be enough time to evaluate the implementation of the memorandum signed with the UN. On May 18, the grain deal was extended for another two months until July 17.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier that the extension of the grain deal was out of the question unless the Russian package of the Istanbul agreements was enforced, adding that the deal was still being implemented only regarding the supply of Ukrainian grain.

[Source: Tass, Shanghai, 07Jul23]

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