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Food Fight

Author: Maria Antonova

Sep/Oct 2014
Page 7   ( 1 pages)

Summary: In retaliation for the West's sanctions on Russia, Russian sanctions... itself.


In retaliation for sanctions by the European Union, the United States, and a handful of other countries that want Moscow to change its policy in Ukraine, Moscow has banned a large assortment of food products from import to Russia.<

The surprisingly harsh measure will close off the Russian market from essential items like meat, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables and is seen by the Kremlin as a boon to local producers, who will race to replace US chicken, French Brie, and Greek olives on supermarket shelves.

Initially, western sanctions were aimed at specific, targeted individuals or companies, not the larger Russian economy. Yet global outrage surged after the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane, which killed nearly 300 and scattered body parts across the sunflower fields of eastern Ukraine. The exact circumstances behind the horrific tragedy are still unclear, yet it has turned much of the world against Moscow and led to broader sanctions.

Russia’s embargo move, taken August 7, could radically alter consumers’ diets: nearly 15 percent of fruit, 13 percent of pork, and 14 percent of fish are imported from sanctioned markets. The EU, which exports far more goods to Russia than the United States, will have to sell $7 billion in sanctioned products elsewhere, though this figure represents just half of a percentage point of the overall EU economy, said economists from London-based think tank Capital Economics.

Overall, Russia imports 35 percent of its food, and consumers will feel the impact of this measure if other suppliers are not found. Many observers darkly dismissed comments praising the embargo as something that will “teach the West a lesson.”

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