The import ban imposed for the first time in August 2014 for EU dairy products, meat, fruit and vegetables continues. The extension of the embargo should not be just a revenge for the sanctions of the West.
Moscow (AP) – Russia has extended its food embargo on Germany and a dozen other countries by decree of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin for one year until December 31, 2021.
The import ban first imposed in August 2014 on EU dairy products, meat, fruits and vegetables was a reaction to sanctions imposed by the West on Russia in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine. It is about protecting Russia’s national interests, according to the presidential decree, which was signed and published in Moscow on Saturday.
The embargo should not be just a revenge for sanctions imposed by the West. Russia mainly took advantage of the situation to renew its own production, for example in the dairy industry, to depend less on imports. The embargo affects many countries that have imposed “sanctions against Russia,” including the United States, Australia, Canada and Ukraine.
Because many embargoed products, such as cheese from France and Italy, continue to reach the market through diversion and smuggling, Russia has already destroyed tons of food. It is also criticized that the elimination of foreign competition has made the prices of Russian food more expensive for consumers in the gigantic empire. Also, customers sometimes complain of poorer quality than western food.
Moscow politicians, however, rate the embargo as a great success because it has managed to improve self-reliance in Russia. The country’s position as an exporter of agricultural products is also considered strengthened. So Russia recently celebrated itself as the world’s largest wheat exporter, far ahead of the United States.
EU manufacturers have long opened other markets in the United States and China. Kremlin chief Putin has said several times that he will lift counter-sanctions as soon as the EU ends its punitive measures against Russia. But that is not in sight.