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Customs Union to benefit from Russia’s food import ban

August 18, 2014, 19:23 UTC+3 GORKI
Deputy Prime Minister said Russia had been closely cooperating with Kazakhstan and Belarus on food supplies
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Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich (second left) in a meeting with Dmitry Medvedev

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich (second left) in a meeting with Dmitry Medvedev

© ITAR-TASS/Yekaterina Shtukina

GORKI, August 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Belarus and Kazakhstan, which have created the Customs Union together with Russia, will benefit from Moscow’s food import ban, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on Monday.

“Our colleagues in the Customs Union can benefit from this situation as they will process a part of the products which we previously received directly,” he said at a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, adding, “Now they will supply processed products to us.”

“If this adds a large part of value to a product, then this is a new product,” Medvedev remarked.

Dvorkovich said Russia had been closely cooperating with Kazakhstan and Belarus on food supplies. “We are also working on this with [non-EU] countries such as Serbia and Switzerland to avoid such things [re-export of food from countries affected by the Russian food embargo], he said.

The deputy prime minister said that the ban would apply to processed products.

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 organize together with regional authorities timely monitoring of goods markets; and act together with associations of goods producers, retailers and organizations 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 US, 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 stabilize 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.

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