Russian ban: What’s in, what’s out

Beef Central, 11/08/2014

Australia’s federal ministers for trade and agriculture have expressed disappointment at Russia’s decision to ban agricultural products for one year from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia in response to events in Ukraine, which they say will do nothing to ease the violence in the war-torn region.

In a joint statement issued on Friday Andrew Robb and Barnaby Joyce said the loss of any market was always of concern, and they pledged to work closely with affected producers to minimise the impact on their business.

To put Russia’s ban in perspective, Australia’s total trade with Russia represents just 0.4 per cent of overall trade and one per cent of all agricultural exports.

Australian agricultural exports to Russia in 2013 were valued at about A$405 million but included some commodities now already banned including beef (A$159 million) and milk and dairy products (A$76 million).

“Russia ranks number 28 on Australia’s list of export destinations so we are certainly not heavily reliant on it as a trading partner,” the joint statement said.

“The excellent reputation of our agriculture sees it in strong demand in many other major markets including China, Japan and Korea.

“Our immediate focus is to manage those exports that are currently at sea or in transit to Russian markets and to assist exporters in redirecting them, wherever possible, to alternative destinations.”

“Free trade agreements with major markets such as Japan and Korea and, we hope soon to be China, open up more opportunities and help further diversify our trade.”

The ministers said they were also concerned that Russia’s ban may not comply with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, and were considering all options in relation to the new restrictions.

“The people who will be affected most by Russia’s actions are ordinary Russian people. There are no winners in what Russia has done.”

According to documentation released on Friday the ban includes the following agricultural products, raw materials and food originating from the United States of America, European Union countries, Canada, Australia, and Kingdom of Norway for the period of one year from last week’s announcements:

  • Meat of cattle, fresh and chilled
  • Meat of cattle, frozen
  • Pork fresh, chilled or frozen
  • Meat and food byproducts of poultry, fresh, chilled or frozen
  • Meat salted, pickled, dried or smoked
  • Fish and crustaceous, mollusks and other aquatic invertebrates
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Vegetables, edible roots and tuber crops
  • Sausages and similar products from meat, meat byproducts or blood; prepared meat products prepared from them
  • Prepared products including cheeses and curd on the basis of vegetable oils
  • Food (containing milk, based on vegetable oils)

As more information is released publicly updates will be provided on the department’s website at www.agriculture.gov.au and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at www.dfat.gov.au


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