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Russian import ban may cause Europe to “choke" with own products — official

August 14, 2014, 15:28 UTC+3 ANKARA
On August 7, Russia announced suspension of food imports from Norway, Canada, Australia, the United States and the 28-nation European Union worth billions of dollars
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© EPA/BAS CZERWINSKI

ANKARA, August 14. /ITAR-TASS/. The European market is oversaturated in the wake of Russia’s ban on products from Western countries, a source in Russia’s veterinary inspection service Rosselkhoznadzor said on Thursday.

“With Russia imposing restrictions on supplies, they (European markets) will literally choke with their own products,” the source said after Rosselkhoznadzor specialists held negotiations in the Turkish capital on expanding food imports to Russia. “And the Russian market is opening now,” he added.

“The EU is a union comprising states which are more or less connected with deliveries to Russia,” the official said.

“If such countries as Poland or Lithuania supplied products worth about a billion dollars, it seems quite natural that this is a very severe blow to them,” he said, noting that these countries might re-establish their presence in the Russian market in twelve months, when the sanctions were lifted.

Besides Turkey, the Russian side is discussing the possibility of stepping up imports from countries of Latin America, the official added.

“Last week, we had a series of talks with ambassadors of Latin American countries. A delegation headed by three deputy agriculture ministers came from Brazil,” he said.

China, which is also interested in boosting food exports to Russia, “created special trade platforms to supply farm produce to the Far East”, the official said.

On August 7, Russia announced suspension of food imports from Norway, Canada, Australia, the United States and the 28-nation European Union worth billions of dollars in retaliation for sanctions imposed by those nations in recent weeks over events in Ukraine.

The ban, targeting cheese, fish, beef, pork, fruit, vegetables and dairy products over the next 12 months, is expected to seriously affect Western economies.

Combined with other import bans imposed earlier this year, the new trade measures cover Western imports worth $9.1 billion in 2013, according to Russian customs data.

The European Union will feel much of the loss. Exports of sanctioned products from the EU to Russia were worth $6.5 billion last year. Non-EU member Norway exported about $1.2 billion in food and agricultural goods to Russia, the United States - $843.8 million, Canada - $373.6 million. Australian agricultural exports to Russia amounted to $182 million.

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