On 6 August, Russia declared a one-year ban on certain imports of agricultural products, raw materials and foods from countries that have adopted economic sanctions against Russian persons, or adhered to such sanctions. These measures have been officially referred to as a form of “counter-sanctions”.
Presidential Edict No. 560 “On Certain Special Economic Measures to Ensure Security of the Russian Federation” directs the Government of the Russian Federation to prepare a list of categories of banned products and to decide upon specific measures to implement the ban. This edict was implemented through the Russian Government’s Decree of 7 August 2014 No. 778 “On the Measures to Implement the Russian Presidential Edict No. 560”, which imposes restrictions on meat, poultry, fish and seafood, milk and milk products, vegetables, fruit and nuts, and other food and ready-made meals originating from the US, the EU, Canada, Australia and Norway.
Russia’s Customs Service has already started to enforce the ban. The new measures do not provide for any grace period or “grandfather clause” in respect of supplies under pre-existing contracts. However, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced, “If our partners display a constructive approach towards cooperation issues, then the Government would be willing to revise the specific implementation deadlines for these measures.”
Following the announcement of the new measures, Medvedev also warned of potential sanctions in the air transport industry, including a ban against European and US flights over Russian airspace. Restrictive measures in the shipbuilding and automobile industries may also be introduced.
On 11 August, senior EU officials reported that the EU might enter into political negotiations with Latin American nations to dissuade them from supplying agricultural produce to Russia in substitution. The Brazilian government has already authorised 90 meat plants to export chicken, beef and pork to Russia.
For more information, and for an analysis of contractual and non-contractual legal issues that may arise as a result of Russia’s counter-sanctions, please see our Client Update of 8 August.