Russia seeks SWIFT reconnect for grain exports — RT Business News

Deputy finance minister suggests removing agricultural trade barriers amid global food shortage

Russia wants its main agricultural lender Rosselkhozbank to be reconnected to the SWIFT financial network, to free up Russian grain and fertilizer exports, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said on Saturday.

This is not the first time that we have discussed this because, from my point of view, the reconnection of Rosselkhozbank, which provides the majority of agricultural transactions, is a key issue… We have discussed this issue and received again assurances from UN representatives that they are also considering this issue. to be vital,” Vershinin told reporters.

His comments follow a meeting with senior UN officials on Friday, discussing the agreement guaranteeing safe passage for Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. Under the pact, brokered in July by the UN and Turkey, Russia sought a reprieve from sanctions for its own agricultural trade, but has since expressed dissatisfaction with UN efforts to lift Western restrictions affecting the area.

Although the sanctions do not directly target Russian agriculture, they do affect payments, insurance and shipping. Many Russian banks were disconnected from the SWIFT financial messaging system earlier this year, making it difficult to settle exports directly.

According to Vershinin, one way to alleviate the problem would be to open correspondent accounts at foreign banks, such as Citibank and JPMorgan, to facilitate payments for Russian exports.

This option, if it exists, can only be temporary, since the real solution is a complete reconnection to the SWIFT financial messaging system of Rosselkhozbank,“, he stressed, adding that the problem must be solved before the expiration of the grain agreement on November 19.

Vershinin noted that Moscow has not yet agreed to extend its participation in the deal. Earlier, a number of senior Russian officials had warned that the country could opt out of the deal if the UN fails to meet its commitments on Russian exports.

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