Russian Agriculture Minister and Falih discuss trade between Moscow and Riyadh
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Minister Dmitry Patrushev and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih will discuss the development of bilateral ties, including agricultural trade, at a meeting on Thursday, the Agriculture Ministry said.
In August, Saudi Arabia decided to ease its specifications for insect damage to wheat imports, opening the door to imports from the Black Sea and boosting ties with Russia other than energy cooperation.
Falaj and Patrushev will meet as part of the latter's visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, the ministry said. Patrushev is also meeting with his Saudi counterpart Abdul Rahman al-Fadhli and visiting a Saudi agricultural company.
Russia, the world's biggest wheat exporter, is seeking to enter the Saudi market as it tries to grab a bigger share of wheat markets in the Middle East and North Africa from the European Union and the United States.
After Saudi Arabia said in August it would reduce its standards for insect damage in hard wheat from zero percent to 0.5 percent from the next tender, a source in Russia's sector told Reuters that Moscow would continue to press Saudi Arabia to bring insect damage to 1 percent.
A delegation of major Russian grain, meat and dairy companies also arrived with Patrushev, the ministry said, without revealing the names.
The meeting of Patrushev and Al-Falih comes days after the appointment of Yasser Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund, the Kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, as chairman of Aramco to replace Al-Falih as the oil company prepares for an initial public offering.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund, praised Falih and said changes in the Saudi oil sector would not have an impact on cooperation between Moscow and Riyadh.