Zlata Yu. Komogortseva

Vladivostok Branch of the Russian Customs Academy, Vladivostok

Matvey M. Kalyagin

Vladivostok Branch of the Russian Customs Academy, Vladivostok

Maksim A. Saltykov

Vladivostok Branch of the Russian Customs Academy, Vladivostok

Abstract: The article is devoted to an urgent topic – the problem of cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China in the field of trade in aquatic biological resources (ABR). The study examines the objects of trade of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China related to the ABR, analyzes the regulatory framework governing the trade of the ABR between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, considers the main methods of smuggling and fraud in the implementation of trade operations, studies the dynamics of trade in fishery goods.

Keywords: aquatic biological resources, customs cooperation, export, import, trade cooperation

Characteristics of objects of trade between the PRC and the Russian Federation in the field of aquatic biological resources (ABR). Today, the Russian Federation occupies one of the leading places in the extraction of aquatic biological resources. Aquatic biological resources are understood as follows: fish, aquatic mammals, aquatic invertebrates, algae, as well as other types of aquatic animals and plants that are in a state of natural freedom.

The importance of aquatic biological resources for humans is very great, because they act as one of the main sources of nutrition, which, in turn, has a huge amount of useful substances and minerals. In many spheres of human activity, as well as in industries, they are used as a raw material base.

Taking into account all of the above, we can make sure that the issue of trade in ABR between states remains relevant.

The raw material base of Russian fisheries consists of biological resources extracted in freshwater reservoirs, inland and marginal seas, as well as in open areas of the World Ocean in accordance with international treaties. The main places where bioresources are extracted are the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the South Kuril zone of the Pacific Ocean, the East Kamchatka zone of the Pacific Ocean, as well as the internal waters of Russia.

Figure 1: The volume of the main types of fishing products in the Russian Federation in 2021 (thousand tons) Source [17]

It is worth noting that of the fishing products, the main one is fresh or chilled fish, then live marine fish, frozen crustaceans, then aquatic plants, marine animals and their other products, this can be seen in Fig.1.

Russia is actively engaged in the export of aquatic biological resources, such as fish, marine animals and plants). The rating of Russia’s main trading partners in this area can be seen in Fig.2.

Figure 2: Rating of Russia’s main trading partners in the export of ABR (thousand US dollars) for 2021 Source [19]

The leading positions in the import of aquatic biological resources from Russia, related according to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, to group 03 fish and crustaceans, mollusks and other aquatic invertebrates, are occupied by the following countries: South Korea, the Netherlands and the People’s Republic of China. China occupies one of the leading places in the consumption of fish products, it is important to note that China is a trading partner of Russia not only in this area, but also in others.

It’s desirable to note that China’s fishing industry has been one of the leading in the world for 3 decades. China is developing the fishing industry primarily to ensure its domestic market. China’s domestic demand has provoked accelerated development in the field of extraction and import of water resources (both from freshwater and marine reservoirs), not limited to its own exclusive economic zone with a length of 200 miles. A lot of biological resources around the world ocean enter the Chinese market.

China is one of the main importers of aquatic biological resources, and the largest consumer of these types of resources in the world, due to the large number of people. Russia is one of the suppliers of aquatic biological resources on a significant scale for China.

China imports a large volume of fish products from Russia, but it is important to consider what the structure of imported goods is, in what volumes it enters the country and their value expression. These aspects are presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Characteristics of the value and volume of fish products trade between Russia and China in 2021 Source [18]

According to this table, it can be concluded that such goods as crustaceans, frozen fish, shellfish, etc. are exported in large quantities. It is important to note that live fish is not included in the export items, this is because the fish is a perishable commodity. Therefore, fish is transported mainly in frozen or chilled form. Frozen fish, depending on what kind it belongs to, is packed in bales, barrels, cardboard or wooden boxes, in which ice should be kept.

If we talk about the rates of export duties, then they are subject only to heading 0302 “Fresh or chilled fish, with the exception of fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304”. In accordance with the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 2068, the customs duty rate corresponds to 5%.

As for the rules for the transportation of fish products, certain provisions are introduced in relation to it, which allow these resources to be moved in a safe state for human life and health. For example, in Russia, technical regulations have been established regarding this area, one of which is the Technical Regulation of the Eurasian Economic Union “On the Safety of Fish and Fish Products” (EAEU TR 040/2016), according to which it is not allowed to store frozen, frost-damaged or chilled fish products in premises that are not cooled before loading into a vehicle or container. Vehicles and containers must be equipped with special means that allow them to comply with the requirements of the temperature regime. The movement of fish products in bulk by a vehicle without the use of consumer packaging is not allowed. The cargo compartments of vehicles must be regularly cleaned and disinfected, and other requirements established by this regulation must be met. As we can see from Fig.3. in the time period from 2017 to 2019, the volume of supplied aquatic biological resources from Russia to China increased, which indicates that the demand for this type of food was great, it strengthened cooperation between the countries and largely had a positive impact on trade.

Figure 3: Export of ABR (in tons) for 2017-2021 from Russia to China Source [19]

However, in 2020, the volume of exported aquatic biological resources gradually began to decline, China restricted the supply of fish, as traces of coronavirus infection were found on the packaging of fish products. In 2021, the volume of exports of this type of resources decreased by almost 3 times compared to 2018, this is due to the development of coronavirus infection and restrictions imposed to prevent its spread. Figure 4: Volume of exported aquatic biological resources from Russia to China in value terms (thousands of US dollars) Source [19]

As can be seen from Figure 4, the volume of exported aquatic biological resources has decreased in value terms, but not as significantly as the physical volume, this is due to the fact that, due to restrictions, prices for exported goods have increased.

China’s consumption of aquatic biological resources is increasing every year, as a result of which the import of these resources is increasing. Figure 5 shows China’s imports from other countries (besides Russia) in order to show the potential of China’s consumption in the field of ABR.

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