Business Farming

Saturday 20 September 2014

Irish exports turned away from Russia as ban begins

Published 12/08/2014 | 00:00

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin toasting with beer during a visit to a self-service restaurant in Moscow. Russia has banned food imports from the EU and USA amongst other countries.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin toasting with beer during a visit to a self-service restaurant in Moscow. Russia has banned food imports from the EU and USA amongst other countries.
Moscow imposed a total ban on imports of many Western foods
Moscow imposed a total ban on imports of many Western foods

Irish produce has been turned away from Russian borders over the weekend as the ban on EU food imports kicked in.

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There had been hopes of a 'grace period', but it appears that only shipments inside Russian ports by August 7 were allowed to pass through customs.

However, the ICSA have warned Irish food processors to avoid using the Russian ban to talk down prices.

"The reality is that the export ban will have minimal impact on Irish exports. In fact beef supplies are likely to tighten in the medium term," said ICSA president Patrick Kent.

The ban is likely to drive Russian food inflation rates even higher than the 8pc that was recorded for the first half of 2014.

EU countries hit hardest by the ban include those that are closest to its borders, such as Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Finland and Denmark. Holland's fruit and vegetable farmers are also set to suffer, but the €528m of Dutch product is only half that affected by Lithuania, whose food exporters sold €927m of food affected by the ban into Russia last year.

These countries, along with Spain account for three quarters of the €5.25bn of EU food exports 
will be impacted by the ban, according to Brussels based AgraFacts.

Irish exporters to Russia had already suffered from bans on exports that were worth over €90m in 2013. Last week's move brought the total amount affected to close to €100m.

Industry leaders will now be looking to EU Commissioner Dacian Ciolos to unlock some of the €433m crisis reserve that is designed to help food producers in Europe during unforeseen events.

A task force has also been set up in Brussels charged with scoping out new market opportunities elsewhere in the world.

In additon, Commissioner Ciolos has tabled a meeting of EU farm ministers for later this week to look at how best to target help at individual members states' requirements.

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