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MOSCOW, August 12. /ITAR-TASS/. Senior government representatives from Russia and Belarus are set to meet for talks on Wednesday as Moscow seeks to fill gaps resulting from its food embargo on imports from the West.
Discussions between Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusyi will focus on increasing food supplies from Belarus to Russia, Aliya Samigullina, spokeswoman for Dvorkovich, said on Tuesday.
Belarus, part of the Customs Union with Russia and Kazakhstan, said it could ramp up increased agrarian production to supply Russia.
“We are prepared to raise supplies of agrarian produce (to Russia),” the Belarusian deputy prime minister said as Russia announced a one-year ban last week on most European Union and US food imports.
The Belarusian Agriculture Ministry and the Republican Union of Consumer Societies were instructed to prepare a list of products to be delivered to Russia “over negotiated supplies”, Rusyi said. “Today, Belarus has some capacities to increase food supplies to the Russian market,” he said.
In response to Western sanctions, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on August 6 to ban for one year imports of agricultural, raw materials and food products from countries that imposed sanctions against Russia. Putin’s decree instructed his government to devise an action plan and draft a list of products that would be subject to the ban.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced on August 7 that the Russian government had imposed a one-year ban on imports of all meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the 28 European Union countries, Canada, Australia and non-EU member Norway.