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Accuses fish importers of market sharing

Norwegian salmon and trout to the Russian market is big business, but the suppliers are few. Federal Antimonopoly Service initiates case.

The case is based on suspicion of violating the federal law on market sharing cartel. Legal action started after the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) made inspections at the three companies “Russkaya Rybnaya Kompaniya,” “Atlant-Pasifik” and “Severnaya Kompaniya.”

The press service of FAS says to FishNews that these three companies allegedly implemented an anti-competitive agreement and entered a strategic agreement to distribute the Norwegian fish producers among themselves.

Director Jan Eirik Johnsen at the Moscow office of the Norwegian Seafood Council was not aware of the accusations before FAS initiated the case.

“Agreements Norwegian companies have with their customers in the different markets, including Russia, is something we have no knowledge about and therefor can’t comment on,” says Jan Eirik Johnsen to BarentsObserver.

Johnsen says, however, that there have been challenges related to exports of salmon and trout from Norway to Russia since 2006.

“The situation today is such that a number of Norwegian exporters who wants to export to Russia have long waited to be inspected by Rosselkhoznadzor to get export license. Also, companies that have been shown the door have been waiting for a long time to obtain new license to export to Russia,” says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

Rosselkhoznadzor is Russia’s Federal veterinary service.

The Norwegian Seafood Council hopes Russia’s membership in WTO will trigger more transparency and predictability for the trade of seafood between Norway and Russia.

The import of Norwegian salmon to Russia increased by 60 percent to 112,000 tons during the first nine months this year, reports B-port with reference to Interfax.