In a response to the imposition of embargoes on trade with Russia by a number of countries, Russia has now responded by imposing an immediate embargo on the importation of agricultural and food products from those same countries including Australia.

On 6 August 2014, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, signed a Presidential Decree on the 'Application of Certain Special Economic Measures in order to protect the national of the Security of the Russian Federation'.

This Decree imposes immediate bans, for one year, on imports of specified agricultural products originating from countries including Australia, US, EU, Norway and Canada.

The Department of Agriculture (Department) has confirmed the embargo by way of a Market Access Advice which was issued this afternoon.

This raises the following immediate issues:  

  • Whether your products (or those who carriage you are arranging) are affected
  • Whether the embargo will stop cargo en route
  • Making of arrangements with the Department for re – certification and return of the goods
  • Commercial arrangements for return of goods – who pays for them or the freight?
  • Customs clearance on their return
  • Disposing of the goods on return
  • Commercial arrangements with overseas customers for future supply?
  • Whether to invoke Force Majeure clauses
  • Whether insurance will cover costs and losses from the embargo
  • Whether the embargo will continue or expand

I would suggest close attention to Advices or Notices from Government agencies, opening communications with suppliers here, consignors here, consignees in Russia and others in the supply chain to establish and mitigate risk as a matter of urgency.  That process should include review of shipping and supply contracts as well as trade insurance.

International action (whether at the WTO or otherwise) is unlikely to deliver a speedy resolution so you will need to act promptly to establish your position and protect your interests.

As always I would be happy to assist.