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Are The New Import Embargos Of Big Importance?

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Are The New Import Embargos Of Big Importance?

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Yes, they are. On August 6 and 7, Russia reacted to the sectorial EU-sanctions with an embargo on the import of food and agricultural products from the EU, USA, Norway, Canada and Australia.

This includes meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products and among others, cheese, fruits, vegetables and some other products. These prohibitions were enacted immediately, so delivery contracts could not be fulfilled even when the products were already on their way.

The import of these food products from the sanctioned countries are of great importance. Russian food imports from the EU, from the sanctioned categories, amount to 10 billion Euros annually. 37 percent of Russia's meat import and 25 percent of beverage imports are from the EU and Norway delivers 32 percent of the Russian fish import. The situation became even more complicated when some of the listed goods were taken off the embargo list on August 20. The import of lactose-free milk, egg white concentrate and seeds for potatoes, onions and peas are now allowed. It is recommended to have the exact import classification of goods checked by an expert in order to determine whether the product may be safely imported.

Who benefits from the situation?

Since food from the West, which is forbidden to import, cannot be substituted so quickly by Russian producers, it is expected that Belarus and Kazakhstan, which together with Russia are members of the Eurasian Economic Union, will try to import Westerns products and resell them in the customs-free zone to Russia. The head of the Belarusian food supervisory office, Yuri Pivovartshuk, claimed just last week that Belarus will increase its food exports to Russia by about 15 to 40 percent by year-end. There are already reports of “Belarusian” parmesan, mozzarella and even salmon and shrimp being sold in Russian supermarkets.

Are transit imports allowed?

There is no clear way to answer this. The Russian presidential order of August 6, forbids any kind of commercial import of the listed food products from the EU and from the other sanctioned countries. (As an individual, you may bring these products into Russia for your own consumption.) A transit import does not change anything because the country of origin is important and not the country where the cargo is handled. On the other hand, products which are indeed processed in Belarus, and not just relabeled, can be considered as products produced in Belarus (e.g. fish sticks made from Norwegian salmon and cheese from Polish milk). It is interesting to note that the head of the Russian agricultural supervisory office, Sergey Dankwart, has already expressed his concerns about such processing of forbidden products and named concrete examples such as these cases. This shows that the Russian authorities will not tolerate such food processing.

Stay informed with RUSSIA CONSULTING’s Q&As. Our knowledgeable experts consult you on the current import embargo. You can also have your Russian business partners checked by RUSSIA CONSULTING to ensure that your clients and suppliers are not on the European, American or another sanctions list. This is still important because the personalized sanctions of the EU and USA are independent from the sectorial sanctions and are still valid.

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