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Russia's deputy PM returns to idea of grain Opec creation: Interfax

[MOSCOW] A Russian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of agriculture has proposed the creation of a grain organisation along the lines of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), Interfax news agency reported on Saturday, citing his office.

Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, is one of the world's largest oil producers, but is not a member of Opec.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Gordeyev is a veteran of the Russian farm sector who has periodically lobbied for the creation of a "grain Opec" in previous years. He was agriculture minister for 10 years until 2009.

His remarks on Saturday are the first time he has returned to the idea in public since he came back to the government in 2018.

In previous years, his idea of a grain cartel was aimed at the Black Sea producers - Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan - but never gained momentum because Russia joined the World Trade Organization in 2012. WTO rules are designed to stop its member countries from interfering with imports and exports in a way that disrupts trade or discriminates against other members.

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The world's leading grain exporters could form the Opec-like group, Mr Gordeyev said at a meeting with German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner in Cologne on Saturday, Interfax reported.

The "grain Opec" would aim to ensure stability on the grain market, coordinate price policy and solve world hunger problems and might include Russia, the European Union, the United States, Canada, and Argentina, among others, Mr Gordeyev told the meeting, according to Interfax.

He proposed that more agriculture ministers discuss global coordination among leading grain producers at their next meeting during a Green Week exhibition in Berlin, Interfax added.



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