Tuesday 21 January 2020

Russian food war could hit €235m trade

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

Mark O'Regan

IRELAND'S multi-million food exports to Russia are under threat after the Kremlin warned it would slap a ban on EU food imports.

And Irish shoppers could pay more for a range of food products because of the knock-on effects, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) warned last night.

The IFA is concerned about the planned clampdown on food imports announced by Russian President Vladimer Putin, as the trade is worth an estimated €235m to Ireland.

The products affected include beef, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, as well as live animals and forestry products.

President Putin has now decided to hit back at EU countries who have imposed sanctions on Russia because of his stance on the Ukranian crisis.

A ban on imports from the Euro zone will affect a range of products including farming produce from Ireland.

"If there are less exports out of the country it's going to put more pressure on home markets and put pressure on prices back to farmers.

"It depends on how these bans are going to go, but there is every possibility this will in turn push up prices for the consumer," IFA spokesman Tim Cullinan told the Irish Independent.

"The Minister needs to be putting pressure on the EU to try and get around this problem. If the cost to farmer goes up in any way, ultimately it will go on to the consumer.

"It's a major concern as every export market is very important to Ireland. The Government should be doing everything possible to try to maintain dialogue and try to get exporting going again."

A Department of Agriculture spokesman said last night that the Government is contacting leading agri-food operators, and other related agencies, including Bord Bia.

As an EU member Ireland will have to implement any Brussels- agreed sanctions against Russia.

However it is unclear at this stage what precise exports might be affected. "We'll do whatever we can to retain trade with Russia," he told the Irish Independent.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is also monitoring the situation. Putin's decree didn't specify which countries will be covered.

Irish Independent

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