The Russian Government has published today a document which contains details on the ban of import agricultural products from countries of the European Union, United States, Australia, Canada, Japan and Norway. These products will be prohibited from entering Russian soil as part of a 12 month ban imposed as an answer to sanctions previously imposed by the West. The ban includes finished products as well as raw agricultural goods.
The government resolution was prepared in compliance with the decree signed Wednesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that targets the USA and the EU, reaching individuals and corporations for their actions against Russia. Washington and Brussels accuse Russia of destabilizing the situation in the neighboring country of Ukraine by supporting separatists in Lugansk and Donetsk.
“There is nothing good about sanctions, and it has not been an easy decision, but we had to,” said Dimitri Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister, while meeting with cabinet ministers during which he signed the document with the bans.
Brussels, has now confirmed that agricultural exports to Russia account for 10% (12,000 million euros) of its total and that it reserves the right to “take action” against Russian sanctions. “The EU regrets the announcement of Russia to implement measures on the food and agriculture sector. “This announcement is clearly politically motivated”.
“The European Commission will assess the measures in question as soon as we have more information on their full length and content. The EU executive said in a statement issued minutes after the announcement made by Moscow that the Commission notes that the measures are directly related to the illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilization of Ukraine “.
The document signed by Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev shows that imports from those countries such as beef and pork are prohibited. The same applies to fish and various types of mollusks; milk and milk products; vegetables and tubers; fruits and nuts of all kinds; sausages and similar meat products and cheese.
The government resolution does not specify whether these prohibitions will be applied strictly to all countries listed, or whether it will be selective. The fact that the decree signed by Putin speaks of “prohibition” or “limitation”, leaves room for the government to decide the details and implies that there are chances that not all countries are affected or, at least, not in equal proportion.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, commented on a possible ban on foreign airlines which would prohibit them from flying over Russian airspace while traveling to Asia. Lavrov said this information is just a rumor and added that he is not in favor of it because it will cause problems to passengers. “Ordinary citizens have nothing to do with what happens in Ukraine.”
Another newspaper with strong economic profile, Kommersant reported Thursday that Russia plans to also prohibit the importation of agricultural products from Ukraine, which means the country could lose more than 970 million euros a day. Russia is so far the largest importer of agricultural products from Ukraine.
Russia plans to replace products imported from the European Union and the United States with others from different regions of the planet. Thus, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (SFVVF) announced that it plans to consult with Latin American diplomats the possibility of increasing imports of agricultural and food products from their countries.
The head of SFVVF, Sergey Dankvert, met with some Latin American ambassadors to study “the prospects of expanding Russian food imports.” Ecuador‘s ambassador said at the end of his interview with Dankvert that his country is willing to sell more fruits, vegetables, fish and other products to Moscow.
Mr. Dankvert has not revealed the results of conversations held with representatives from Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Meanwhile, SFVVF said it has lifted restrictions on Brazilian companies, which have already expressed interest in increasing exports of meat and dairy products to Russia.