The Russian government will allow the import of 260 000 tpy of steel pipes from Ukraine duty free, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced.
"Today we'll make a decision which has long been expected by Ukrainian pipe producers. As the government of Ukraine requested, we'll make a decision on 260 000 t of Ukrainian pipes, which will be sold on the Russian market," Putin said.
The decision follows a deal ratified by the parliaments of Ukraine and Russia on extending the lease on a Russian naval base in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017, in return for a 30% discount on Russian natural gas for Ukraine.
In February 2010, Russian steel pipe producers, accounting for over 70% of the domestic steel pipe market, requested the government halt the duty-free imports of pipes from Ukraine starting from Q2. They argued the Russian pipe market had narrowed considerably due to the 2008 global economic crisis and the Ukrainian pipe supplies kept the production capacities of domestic enterprises underutilised.
Russia halted imports of Ukrainian steel pipes duty free from 1st April when the two countries failed to agree on a quota for Q2 2010.
In 2009, Ukrainian producers exported 230 000 t of pipes to Russia, while Russian manufacturers have proposed to limit this volume to 217 000 t.
(Source: RIA Novosti)