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Syrian fruit as a replacement for Turkish produce in Russia

On 5 December, a shipment of Syrian oranges and lemons, totalling 800 tonnes, departed from the port of Latakia bound to Russia, reports the Russian Information Service. The citrus fruits should be in Moscow by 15 December.

"If we manage to establish a transport connection, Syrian fruits and vegetables could help replace Turkish produce. Syrian wholesale prices are very low: oranges cost 75 Syrian pounds (0.18 Euro); mandarins, 50-55 pounds (0.12 - 0.14 Euro); lemons, 100 pounds (0.25 Euro); tomatoes, 17-95 pounds, depending on the season (0.04-0.24 Euro)," told Syrian entrepreneur Amdżad Duba.

The trader also noted that now the most important problem is the transport of products from Syria to Russia. Before the war, the Syrian port of Tartous made regular shipments to Novorossiysk which took 20 days to arrive; now they go through several ports and reach Novorossiysk after 35-40 days.

According to the entrepreneur, Turkey's most important advantage was that trucks were going to Russia every day, so even a small producer could export to Russia, for example, 500 kilos of nuts. A Syrian producer stated that the Turks were buying fruits and vegetables from them and then re-exporting the products to Russia. 

In Baniyas, for example, a city which lies between the ports of Latakia and Tartous, there is a considerable production of greenhouse tomatoes; however, the Syrians do not know how to advertise their products, they do not have access to high quality packaging meeting international standards; as a result, Turkish companies were purchasing these tomatoes, packing them at home and shipping them to Russia as their own, explained the entrepreneur.

In turn, a source in the Syrian Ministry of Finance informs that, at the moment, negotiations between Russia and Syria are underway at government level for the introduction of concessional duties for Syrian products.

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