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Banned food imports hold small share on Russian market — minister

August 07, 2014, 17:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
These imports banned by Russia can be quickly substituted by alternative supplies from other countries, the minister says
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© EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV

MOSCOW, August 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Food imports from countries subject to Russia’s embargo in response to western sanctions hold an insignificant share on the domestic market, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said on Thursday.

These imports banned by Russia can be quickly substituted by alternative supplies from other countries, the minister said.

Specifically, beef imports from five countries covered by Russia’s embargo - the EU, the USA, Canada, Australia and Norway - total 59,000 tons while Russia annually consumes 3.4 million tons of beef, the minister said.

“These are small volumes in general and there will be no shortages as Brazil is already beginning to supply its products,” Fyodorov said, commenting on these figures.

Pork imports from these countries total 450,000 tons while Russia annually consumes 3.4 million tons, the minister said.

“The volume is larger but these figures are not critical and do not frighten us, I can tell you responsibly,” the minister said.

The countries covered by Russia’s embargo also export 338,000 tons of poultry to Russia (compared with annual consumption of 4.2 million tons), 457,000 tons of fish (compared with annual consumption of 3.34 million tons), 459,000 tons of dairy products (compared with 36 million tons), 900,000 tons of vegetables (compared with 16 million tons) and 1.6 million tons of fruit and berries (compared with 11 million tons), the minister said.

“These are the basic figures and they do not frighten us because we take our decisions responsibly and we can quickly substitute these volumes with the supplies of these products from other countries,” Fyodorov said.

The volumes of cheese, butter and powdered milk covered by Russia’s embargo are expected to be substituted by supplies from South American countries and New Zealand while vegetables will be purchased in Turkey, Argentina, Chile, China, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. European apples and pears will be replaced by deliveries from Argentina, Chile, China and Serbia while cherry, sweet cherry, apricots and peaches will be substituted by supplies from Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Israel, Turkey and Iran. Russia will buy citrus products from Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and South Africa.

“The deliveries of meat and meat products from the United States, the EU, Canada and Australia can be replaced by supplies from Brazil and this work has already begun,” the minister said.

“We have already accredited 40 new enterprises there [in Brazil] plus Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Belarus,” the minister said.

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