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Russia embargo on EU products to hit market painfully — French agrarians

August 07, 2014, 19:16 UTC+3 PARIS

Russian sanctions will have “a two-edge effect”, chief of the French National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Union Xavier Beulin says

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PARIS, August 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s ban imposed on EU import of several foods announced on Thursday may deal a massive blow to European food producers, chiefs of leading trade unions of French agrarian and industrial sector said.

Russian sanctions will have “a two-edge effect”, chief of the French National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Union Xavier Beulin said. “Russia is closing up for import and at the same time those products which will not be exported [outside the EU states] will engulf European countries that will stir up a critical situation,” he said live on French i-Tele channel.

The current situation causes concerns among French agrarians. In this regard, Beulin said he seeks to obtain a meeting with French President Francois Hollande “within a few weeks” to discuss the situation. Meanwhile, the chief of the main French agrarian union said with hope that Russia and the EU would succeed to avert escalation of economic standoff. “Russia is a WTO state and risks to be exposed to sanctions, if the country closes its domestic market this way,” Beulin added.

Head of the French National Federation of Fruit Producers (FNPF) Luc Barbier also noted probable negative after-effects for European fruit producers. “In 2012 Spain has exported about 100 thousand tonnes of fruit in Russia and Ukraine and just the same amount of goods will fall on European market,” he warned.

Italy, Spain and France already experience a problem of an avalanching price fall on nectarines and, according to Barbier’s forecast, “similar troubles” endanger apple producers. “This year Poland which had a quite large export to Russia expects an abundant harvest which will naturally be shifted to EU domestic market,” the chief of the French trade union added.

Russian sanctions may result in a long-term loss of positions on Russian market for European exporters, Barbier added. “Europeans are running a risk to be stripped of a market share which will be taken over by Asia and Latin America and which will be very hard to fight back then,” he said.

Meat producers also have concerns, as the latter had faced Russia’s ban on import of pork and live pigs from the EU already since January. “Today annual swine population in Europe makes around 200 million,” chief of the French National Pork Federation (IFIP) Paul Auffray said live on BFM-TV channel, adding that “We will not be able to export 350 thousand tonnes of meat to Russia that is tantamount to more than 1.5 billion euro loss to European swine-breeding industry for six months.”

French agrarian export to Russia has yielded 1.17 billion euro to the country for the previous year. This figure makes 6.5% of total annual foreign supplies of French food products.

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