Kazakhstan to extend grain import ban amid smuggling concerns
Kazakhstan is extending a ban on importing wheat by road and rail for another six months. The decision came into force in April this year amid smuggling concerns from third countries, including Russia. While it is entirely prohibited to import wheat via trucks, there are a few exemptions for rail transport.
The Kazakh government published the ban as a legal act last Friday, 18 August. It mentioned that there will be an extended half-year ban on “the import of wheat to the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan by road from third countries”, starting on 11 October 2023. Importing such wheat from third countries to Kazakhstan via rail is still possible. However, only to “licensed elevators, grain processors, poultry enterprises”.
The act is open for public discussion until 4 September. Kazakhstan first introduced this wheat ban in April this year amid smuggling concerns. The ban on wheat imports was introduced “due to the fact that most of the supplies of Russian wheat to Kazakhstan are smuggled without VAT”, according to media outlet Kazakh Grain Union. “Imported grain is legalised through peasant farms and re-exported to Central Asia, reducing prices for legal Kazakh wheat”, and such smuggling could cause “the Republic to lose about half a billion euros every year.