Earlier today, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced a one-year ban, effective immediately, on meat, fish, fruit, milk, vegetables and dairy products from the US, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway – a retaliatory measure directed at countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia over the political situation in Ukraine.
Statistics from the US International Trade Commission revealed that Russia imported around $1.3bn of US food and agricultural products in 2013. US poultry imports to Russia last year amounted to $310m and the country was reported to be the fifth-largest market for US pork and the eighth largest market for US beef.
Meanwhile, Russia is reported to be Canada’s third-largest export market for pork products, accounting for 40% of Russian imports so far this year.
Russia is the EU’s second-largest market for food and drink, with exports worth E12.2bn in 2013.
However, as Guy Attenborough, director of corporate communications & legal services at the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), pointed out, the EU and US were already banned from exporting pork to Russia for different reasons, so there is unlikely to be any direct impact on the EU market. He added that the ban on Canada’s pork imports will increase supply on other global markets, which could in turn impact on EU exports. “We anticipate that this could lead to a small drop in EU pig prices,” he said.
Poland has already reported losses, following a ban on EU pork imports earlier this year, due to an outbreak of African swine fever in Lithuania. Pork exports from Poland to Russia and Belarus amounted to 85,000t in 2013, with a total value of PLZ800m (US$264m).
The EU had retaliated via the World Trade Organization, securing a disputes panel to examine the legality of Russia’s ban on EU pigs, pork and pork products.
As for beef and lamb products, Russia is not a significant sheep meat importer, according to Attenborough, and what it imports mainly comes from Australia and New Zealand. Meanwhile, most Russian beef imports are sourced from South America, so the ban will have limited impact on the global beef market, he added, noting, “Russia does represent the largest single export market for EU beef, but the volumes are extremely small in terms of overall EU production (17,000 tonnes in January-May 2014, 26% of total exports, but much less than 1% of production). So it is unlikely to have much impact on the EU market as a result. At most, it could cause a delay to prices recovering from their recent falls.”
Since the beginning of the year, as reported by GlobalMeatNews, Russia’s veterinary body Rosselkhoznadzor has considered or implemented a number of sanctions against EU countries, including a ban on German chilled meats and a threat to ban Greek meat imports, with veterinary violations cited as the cause.