In response to increasing pressure from individual and sectoral sanctions imposed by the United States, EU, Canada, Norway, and Australia, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced today that Russia will impose a total ban on imports into Russia of beef, pork, poultry, fish, preserved meats, sausages, fruit, vegetables, nuts, cheese, milk and dairy products from those countries. The ban is to last for one year and is effective immediately. While Mr. Medvedev suggested that the ban could be reconsidered within the one year time frame if the situation were to de-escalate, he also suggested that broader retaliatory measures could be taken if Western sanctions continue.
News reports indicate that the ban could have significant effects on EU producers, for whom Russia is the second largest market. EU pork had already been banned by Russia at the outset of EU sanctions, inflicting particular pain on Polish pork producers, who rely heavily on nearby Russian consumers. Reports also suggest that the impact on U.S. staple producers could be minimal, but that producers of high-end and luxury food products may suffer by being cut off from wealthier Russians who can afford imported products. The Russian agricultural minister indicated today that Russia would be seeking greater imports of meat from Brazil and cheese from New Zealand in order to make up for the lost imports.