A Chinese company is opening a special customs zone for direct exports of fruits and vegetables to Russia, jumping to fill the void left by Russia's ban on a series of food imports from the European Union and other opponents of its policies in Ukraine last week.
The zone, which resembles a wholesale market on a territory of 70,000 square meters, will enable Chinese company Baorong to export fruits and vegetables directly across the Russian-Chinese border, Interfax reported Thursday.
Investment in the project totaled 60 million yuan ($9.7 million), the report said. Another Chinese firm, Dili, intends to set up a similar zone in the region by the end of the year.
Last week, the Russian government banned imports of fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and fish from countries that have imposed sanctions on Moscow over its policy in Ukraine, including the European Union, which previously provided more than a third of Russia's agricultural imports, according to the European Commission.
The Russian government was looking into alternative suppliers of the sanctioned products even before the bans were announced and has already seen some success with Latin America.
On Thursday, Russia's state agricultural watchdog, the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service, held talks with representatives of Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Chile in an attempt to increase food imports from Latin America.
The response seemed positive: Argentinian meat producers said shortly afterward that they were interested in meeting Russia's demand for meat, RIA Novosti reported.