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BUENOS AIRES, September 02, /ITAR-TASS/. Argentina is planning to increase food supplies to Russia by $1.8-2 billion, Agriculture Minister Carlos Casamiquela said on Monday.
He said the food import ban imposed by Russia against Western countries was opening up new opportunities for Argentine food producers and exporters who can supply more poultry meat, beef, fish, dairy products, dried fruit, vegetables, and grape juice.
Russia is interested in high-quality boneless beef which Argentina can offer, the minister said, adding that his government was prepared to ease export restrictions for this purpose.
Before the ban, Russia imported about $10 billion worth of food from Western countries. Argentina can increase food exports to Russia by $1.8-2 billion, Casamiquela said.
Buenos Aires pins big hopes on the upcoming meeting of the bilateral inter-governmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation in Moscow on September 14-15.
Apart from Argentine government officials, the delegation will also include entrepreneurs who will attend a food exhibition in Moscow.
On August 6, Putin signed an executive order on countermeasures to Western sanctions.
The document entitled “On the Application of Certain Special Economic Measures to Ensure the Security of the Russian Federation” prohibits or restricts, for one year, the import of certain kinds of agricultural products, raw materials and food originating in a country that has imposed economic sanctions against Russian companies and (or) individuals or has joined such sanctions.
Under the executive order, “Russian state bodies of power, federal authorities, local self-government bodies, legal entities established in accordance with Russian law, and physical individuals under Russian jurisdiction shall, in carrying out their activities, respect for a duration of one year following this Executive Order’s entry into force a ban or restriction on foreign economic operations involving the import to Russia of particular kinds of agricultural produce, raw materials and foodstuffs originating in countries that have decided to impose economic sanctions on Russian legal entities and/or physical individuals, or have joined such decisions”.
The Russian government has been given relevant instructions. In particular, it has been instructed “to take measures to ensure balanced goods markets and prevent accelerating price rises for agricultural products and foodstuffs; to organise together with regional authorities timely monitoring of goods markets; and act together with associations of goods producers, retailers and organisations to take measures to increase supply of domestic goods”, the executive order said.
The executive order took effect upon its signing.
On the same day, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a resolution banning the import of beef, pork, cheese, fowl, milk, and fish from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada, and Norway for one year.
The ban came in response to the Western sanctions imposed against Russia by the U.S., the EU, Canada, and Japan.
Faced with Russia’s response, the European Commission said it would announce a set of measures shortly in order to stabilise European markets after Russia’s food import restrictions.
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos said the situation required quick and improved access to regional data concerning certain agricultural sectors and increased monitoring.
The European Commission is planning to hold weekly expert consultations on the situation in the market.
Italy, which holds European Union presidency now, has called for convening a meeting of 28 EU agricultural ministers in Brussels on September 5 to discuss the situation.