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Egypt Seeks Exemption From Russian Wheat Export Tariff

CAIRO — Egypt is negotiating with Russia for an exemption from wheat export tariffs, Cairo's trade and industry minister said on Wednesday, after a Russian delegation led by President Vladimir Putin visited the country this week.

Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said in a press release that he had agreed with Russia's agriculture minister to send a delegation of experts to Moscow in the next few weeks to negotiate a trade agreement that ensures the supply of specific quantities of Russian wheat and excludes Egypt from Russian export tariffs.

A deal is expected to be signed in April after talks in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, Nour said, with the agreement slated to come into effect on June 1.

Egypt, the second-largest buyer of Russian wheat, has been hit by Moscow's curbs on grain exports as the Kremlin seeks to cool domestic prices amid an economic crisis.

The informal curbs have already meant that Russian supplies intended for Egypt's state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), have missed deadlines on previously agreed contracts.

An export tax was introduced on Feb. 1, with the duty on wheat exports set at 15 percent of the customs price plus 7.5 euros but will be no less than 35 euros ($40) a ton. The tax will be in effect until June 30.

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