* Turkey is the 2nd top market for Russian wheat
* Turkey says no ban on any supplier or product
* Turkey bought 1.9 mln T of Russian wheat in July-Jan
(Writes through after comment from Turkey ministry)
By Polina Devitt and Humeyra Pamuk
MOSCOW/ISTANBUL, March 17 Turkey denied reports
that it has banned imports of certain products from Russia,
after traders warned shipments of Russian wheat to its
second-biggest export market face disruption.
Trade and industry sources said on Thursday that import
licences issued by the Turkish government no longer included
Russia in a list of tax-free accepted origins as of March 15,
effectively closing off the Turkish market to Russian wheat.
Exports from countries not included in Turkey's import
scheme have to pay a prohibitive tariff of 130 percent, several
sources have said.
Turkey's Economy Ministry said in a statement on Friday
evening that the reports were incorrect. It said it had added
the names of countries on the documents allowing tax-free
imports but that no supplier or product was banned as a result.
"Such stories do not reflect the truth and Turkey's trade
policy is entirely shaped by the rules of the World Trade
Organisation," it said.
"Care is being taken to make sure companies are not damaged
in transactions that began before this practise," the statement
Zekeriya Mete, head of Istanbul exporters association of
grains, pulses and oil seeds, had said earlier on Friday that
"there is a restriction for Russian wheat."
"There isn't a formal note on this but Russia is no longer
on the list of countries from which we could import tax-free."
Andrey Sizov, Jr, a managing director of SovEcon
consultancy, said after the Ministry's statement that the
omission of Russia could have been "a technical mistake or a
deliberate mistake to show the importance of Turkey's
agriculture market to Russia".
"I think the situation should normalise now," he said.
Under this import scheme, buyers in Turkey are allowed to
import certain products with no duty as long as they process and
then export the same amount, Mete said.
A Russian exporters' lobby had sent a letter to Russian
Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev on Thursday asking him
"to take energetic measures" to resolve the matter.
Turkey bought 1.9 million tonnes of Russian wheat from July
2016 to January 2017.
Russia imposed trade restrictions on Turkish goods after
Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border in
The two countries restored ties in August and Moscow has
lifted most of the restrictions but it has yet to resume
purchases of tomatoes and some other products from Turkey.
A Kremlin spokesman said on Friday that the problems over
wheat supplies were unlikely to affect the normalisation of
(Reporting by Polina Devitt in Moscow, Michael Hogan in
Hamburg, Gus Trompiz in Paris, Humeyra Pamuk and Nevzat
Devranoglu in Istanbul; Editing by Dale Hudson and Elaine