Monday, June 17, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Trade with Russia resumes despite global conflict

A Russian cargo ship arrived at Mongla port on Monday for the first time since the Ukraine war began in February

Update : 03 Aug 2022, 06:43 PM

Bangladesh's imports of food grains from Russia and Ukraine were back on track as a Russian cargo ship arrived at Mongla port on Monday for the first time since the Ukraine war began in February earlier this year.

Senior Commerce Secretary, Tapan Kanti Ghosh, said: "We hope export-import trade with Russia will gradually normalize." 

The Food Ministry has officially started talks with Moscow on wheat imports from the country.

Private trade will also resume in the coming days as predicted by different international media, he noted.

Payments, however, will still remain an obstacle to the resumption of trade with both the countries as major Russian banks have been cut off from the international financial messaging system Swift. 

Bangladesh used to import cotton, wheat, corn, mustard and lentils from Russia and Ukraine.

Out of the country's total 7 million tonnes of annual wheat demand, around 3.5 million tonnes used to come from these countries.

But the imports of these goods have remained suspended since February 24, when Russia was excluded from the Swift system. 

Nevertheless, some counties, such as India and China, kept importing Russian oil through alternative banking channels and currencies. 

Bangladesh authorities also have taken efforts to resume the trade to meet the grain demand at home. 

The US embassy in Dhaka, recently in a fact sheet said there is no restriction on the production, sale and transportation of the Russian food products, including fertilizers. 

It also said there were no restrictions on Russia's food and fertilizer trade despite other restrictions due to the attack on Ukraine.

In the meantime, a Russian cargo ship with around 3,328 tonnes of machinery for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant on Monday arrived at Mongla port.

Food grains importing authorities, namely the Food Ministry, said that the import from Russia depended on the currency issue.

If the mode of payment is settled, the import will be easier. 

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said: "The western sanctions do not include food items. However, it would be known once we start importing the items." 

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