NewsRussia hikes beer duties in swipe at 'unfriendly' nations

Russia hikes beer duties in swipe at 'unfriendly' nations

The Russian government has raised tariff rates on beer from unfriendly countries. Picture for illustration purposes only
The Russian government has raised tariff rates on beer from unfriendly countries. Picture for illustration purposes only
Images source: © Getty Images | Andrey Rudakov

5:21 AM EDT, April 20, 2024

The Russian government has increased the customs duty on beer imported from countries it considers "unfriendly," setting the new rate at approximately 11 cents per litre. Moscow says this move supports local beer producers. Meanwhile, a Russian politician has described this measure as a significant counter-sanction against Western countries.

The hike in the beer import duty, as reported by the state-run news agency TASS and citing the Ministry of Industry and Trade, raises the charge from 4 cents to about 11 cents per litre. "The decree also raises rates of customs duties on beer from unfriendly countries. In particular, the duty will grow from 0.04 euro at present to 0.1 euro per liter (10 eurocents). The share of these products in the general consumption structure is not above 5%," the statement detailed. The government officially endorsed this decision through a resolution.

In addition to beer, the tariffs on vermouth, sparkling wines, and other wines from these countries have been increased to 20 percent of the cost, but not less than $1.5 per litre, as disclosed by the independent newspaper Kommiersant.

Additionally, TASS revealed that import duties for certain goods, such as finished cocoa products, coats, wallpapers, and zippers originating from Lithuania, Latvia, or Estonia, had been escalated to 50 percent.

Significant counter-sanction action

"The Moscow Times" highlighted that Aleksey Didenko, the head of the State Duma Committee on Regional Policy and Local Self-Government, had proposed the prohibition of beer imports earlier. Didenko pointed out that the countries affected, notably Germany, Lithuania, and Latvia, have supported Ukraine amidst its conflict with Russia.

Didenko argues that restricting beer imports from these "unfriendly" countries will favour Russia by equalizing opportunities for domestic producers and filling the market with products from nations aligned with Moscow's interests. He asserts that this constitutes a notable counter-sanction measure against the West.

In 2022 and 2023, Germany accounted for a significant portion—over one-third—of all beer imports to Russia. According to "The Moscow Times," beer shipments from Germany surged by 32 percent from the previous year to $96 million, with Germany's overall share in Russian imports increasing by 4.7 percent. Lithuania was the second-largest beer exporter to Russia in 2023, with its exports making up more than 15 percent of the total, valued at $36.5 million.

Source: TASS, Kommiersant, The Moscow Times

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