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Kazakhstan Not Ready To Cut Transit Fees For Russian Grains-Deputy PM

Kazakhstan has no immediate plans to cut railway transit fees for Russian agricultural products including grains, Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Serik Zhumangarin said on Tuesday, commenting on a request made by Moscow.

State-owned Russian Railways asked its Kazakh counterpart in September to give Russian shippers a discount as Moscow – hit by Western sanctions over the Ukraine war – seeks to diversify exports into markets including China, Central Asia and Afghanistan, Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper reported this month.

But Kazakhstan is also a grain exporter and the current shipping fees give it competitive advantage in those markets.

“No one is going to cut (fees) until there are concrete proposals on what volumes of which goods will be shipped,” Zhumangarin told a briefing after meeting Russian officials a day earlier.

“I told them that we will act based on pragmatic considerations above all. We must be pragmatic and think about the country’s long-term interests.”

Vedomosti said that the combined grain demand of Central Asia’s Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan plus Afghanistan is comparable to that of China, estimated at 9 million tonnes a year. (Reporting by Tamara Vaal Writing by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by David Goodman )

Source: Agri Culture