Russia joins ICO

The International Coffee Organization (ICO) has announced that Russia has signed on to become its newest member. Russia has become the ICO’s seventh importing member, joining the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States in that category. “The Russian Federation has been an official observer of the ICO’s meetings for several years and I have personally been engaged in talks with senior officials regarding its accession,” said ICO’s Executive Director Robério Oliveira Silva. “We believe the Russian Federation is well positioned to work with ICO members on the promotion of the coffee sector worldwide and to tackle the challenges we face.” Russia has agreed to comply with the International Coffee Agreement (ICA), which aims to facilitate international trade through increased transparency and provide a common legal framework for members. As part of its membership, Russia is entitled to appoint representatives to the International Coffee Council, which meets twice a year at the ICO headquarters in London to examine the market situation and review policies relating to the coffee industry. The meetings provide a forum for both producing and consuming nations to come together to discuss issues relating to international coffee trade. During the coffee crises of the 2000 – 2004, when coffee prices fell to their lowest levels in 30 years and export earnings halved from around US$12 billion to US$5.5 billion, ICO members developed a strategy to improve the supply and demand balance. This involved implementing a number of initiatives to increase consumption, improve quality and alleviate poverty through the introduction of different crops. The 74 member governments of the ICO now represent 95 per cent of world coffee production and 78 per cent of world consumption. Russia is one of the top coffee consuming countries in the world. In 2014, Russians consumed 4 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee, with an average per capita consumption of 1.7-kilograms, according to the ICO. Since 2000, coffee consumption in the country has doubled and now contributes US$2.5 billion to the economy. The ICO was established in 1963 under the auspices of the United Nations. Silva said he is delighted to welcome the Russian Federation as its newest member.

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