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Russia Slated To Increase the Export Tax on Crude Sunflower Oil Even More, while Turkey Reduces its Import Tax

Updated Dec 1, 2020
Turkey, the biggest importer of sunflower oil suffers from Russia’s strategies on sunflower seed and oils, and constant changes on limitations and taxes.

Tax fluctuation on sunflower oil in Turkey

Turkey was the 7th in world imports of crude sunflower oil, and the 1st in the imports of sunflower seed (HS1206) in 2019. Russia is the biggest supplier of crude sunflower oil and 4th in supplying sunflower seeds to Turkey, representing respectively 80% and 17% of the total amount in value.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the fear of food shortage, the Eurasian Economic Commission has banned the exports of sunflower seeds (HS Code 1206009900) and several other grains from April 1st until August 31st to non-Eurasian European Union (EAEU) countries to stabilize domestic prices and to keep domestic stock levels. From June 30th to August 31st, the EAEU countries were allowed to export under special permits. This decision has affected Turkey where 50% of their demand for sunflower seeds comes from imports, especially from Russia, making Turkish crushers rush to import the sunflower seeds before the ban came into effect so that they could carry out their existing contracts. Considering it as a strategic move to monopolize the crushing within the EAEU and selling dictate sunflower oil prices, Turkey has imposed an increase in import tax for sunflower oil from 18% to 36% by July as a response, aiming to protect national crushers and make importers try to find new sources of sunflower seeds instead of buying its processed oil from Russia which is their main supplier.

However, the country had to increase substantially the import of crude sunflower oil to cover the country’s demand. The high import taxes, devaluation of the Turkish Lira, and shortages of sunflower seed have made sunflower oil-related food prices increase internally even though the harvest season has started. To try to avert that, the government has reduced the import tax of sunflower seed (except for confectionery) to 3% at the beginning of August, and a new reduction to zero percent, at the beginning of November. Last week, sunflower oil also got its import tax reduced to 3%. Both reductions will be valid until July 31st of 2021 as a measure to contain the prices of food and feed.

Russia eyeing on setting a quota and imposing higher taxes on sunflower seeds

The Russian government, pushed by the crushers, might impose higher export taxes on sunflower seeds from 6.5% to 30% by January 1st, and limit this season’s export to just 900,000 MT, according to the Russian Grains Union. This represents a mere 7% of the total expected harvest amount for the MY 2020/21 crop. The quota and the increase in export taxes primarily aim to keep raw materials domestically to keep prices from rising. But in reality, it will give too much power to the crushers, not giving the option to growers to decide where to sell their product. In the long term, this could lead to the reduction of the planted area (which is already down by 120,000 ha this season since the export ban), and growers to choose other crops, which will, in turn, cause the prices to rise. The intense demand for sunflower oil globally and the yield of Ukrainian and Russian crops being below the expectation, caused by drought conditions has made domestic and international prices soar, achieving USD 1,000 per MT on November 5th and USD 1,015 per MT for December loading, accumulating a total of 46% increase in its price within the year.

Sunflower seed Oil domestic price fluctuations in Russia

Source: Tridge


Agriwell. "Ban on the export of sunflower seeds for three months from April 1st, 2020."

Argus media. "Russian grain export curbs could become the norm"

Blackseagrain. "Turkey introduces taxes for sunflower oil"

Latifundist. "Turkey cut sunflower oil import duty"

Latifundist: "Prices Driven High: Global Market for Sunflower Oil"

UkraGroconsult. "Turkey reduced import tariff on sunflower oil"

USDA. "Eurasian Economic Commission Sunflower Export Ban to be


Tridge. "Turkish government has taken a decision to reduce import duties on crude sunflower oil"

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