The Russian government is working on amendments to its export policy that would allow a temporary reduction or the elimination of export taxes to countries it regards as “friendly”, AgriCensus reported on 18 July.

If formally approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, the proposed amendment could be submitted to the State Duma - but details had not been made available publicly, AgriCensus reported from Russian local media outlet RBC, which quoted a government document.

According to the report, Russian president Vladimir Putin had ordered the amendments in a bid to promote economic development and strengthen ties with countries whose trade and political relationships would promote them to “most favoured nation” status.

If the amendment was approved, export taxes for grains and vegetable oils, along with other commodities Russia typically exports, could be lowered for “friendly countries” from current official levels or removed for a period of up to six months, AgriCensus wrote.

According to an explanatory note, quoted by RBC, such preferential tariffs could be used for export to countries that had not imposed sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine last February, or countries with which Russia is currently building strategic, economic or political relations.

At the time of the report, it was not clear how the new proposal could affect the grain and oils markets and the impact it could have on local and international prices for grains and vegetable oils, the report said.

Almost all Russian grain and oils are exported to countries that are friendly to it or have been neutral on the invasion, while the volume of exports to Europe is low, according to the report.

Russia’s main export destinations for agricultural products in 2022/23 were Turkey, Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, AgriCensus wrote.