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Switzerland refuses to supply European products to Russia bypassing embargo — WSJ

The Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture says some EU food producers have sought ways around the Russian ban by exporting through Switzerland

NEW YORK, August 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Switzerland has rejected attempts by some EU food producers to sidestep a Russian ban on EU food imports amid the continuing crisis in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

“Some EU food producers have sought ways around the Russian ban by exporting through Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture said on Tuesday,” the newspaper writes.

According to WSJ, “The office said it has rejected requests from fruit, vegetable and foodstuffs producers, but declined to give further details. Switzerland is required to certify food exports for hygiene, which it can’t do if the products are processed outside its borders, said Jurg Jordi, a spokesman for the office. Switzerland has previously pledged to prevent Russia from using its territory to bypass Western countries’ sanctions.”

“Separately, Switzerland's Federal Council, or cabinet, last week expanded its list of defence equipment that can’t be exported to Russia and Ukraine, and tightened bans on Swiss financial intermediaries taking on new business from the two countries. These restrictions fall short of broader economic sanctions the EU and the US have slapped on Russia,” the newspaper says.

The newspaper writes that Moscow’s embargo on imports of some food products from the EU, introduced early August, did not affect Switzerland as it did not apply wide sanctions against Russia.

According to WSJ, “Switzerland is exempt from Russia's retaliatory measures because it isn't participating in Western sanctions against the country following its annexation of Crimea earlier this year and continued support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.”

Coffee and cheese are among the most popular Swiss food exports to Russia, last year reaching the volume worth 200 million Swiss francs ($221 million) or 2.4% of Switzerland’s total food sales abroad, the newspaper says.