Russia Bans All Western Food Imports, Estonian PM Says Exporters Must Have Backup Plan ({{commentsTotal}})

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Today, Russia released the detailed list of prohibited import goods, which establishes a blanket one-year ban on EU, US, Australian, Canadian and Norwegian meat, seafood, dairy products and produce. The Estonian head of government maintained that Russian consumers would suffer most, while Estonian agriculture as a whole would not be deeply impacted, but said Estonian export businesses should have have a plan B in place for the next year.


rRussian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev signed a government regulation into law today, citing the need to defend national interests. It follows an announcement by President Vladimir Putin yesterday that first announced the move in retaliation for Western sanctions. The regulation becomes effective immediately.

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said at today's Cabinet press conference that Estonian agriculture would suffer less than the business sector.

"It's too early to say what the impact on Estonia will be, but of larger categories of goods, 24 percent of dairy exports go to Russia. Export to Russia makes up 5.5 percent in the case of meat products and close to 9 percent for vegetables."

According to Postimees, Estonia's total export to Russia in 2013 across all types of goods starts with 127.7 million euros in drinks and beverages to Russia, followed by 50.2 million euros in milk and dairy products, 15.0 million euros in fish products, 12.1 million euros in grain, starch and milk-containing products, and 11.5 million euros in other foodstuffs. Other categories, including non-food items, were at 5 million euros or less.

Russia is Europe's second-biggest export destination for food and drink. Food and raw materials exported to Russia totaled over 12 billion euros last year.

Past sanctions - the most severe sanctions being precipitated by the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine - have closed Western financial markets to Russian companies, and grounded Aeroflot's subsidiary. Before today, EU pork was already banned, and in recent days, Polish fruits and vegetables were axed.

Medvedev also said Russia was still considering closing airspace over Siberia to Western airliners.