How will sanctions against Turkey influence food prices?

How will sanctions against Turkey influence food prices?

While the Russian government is specifying the list of banned products from Turkey after the decree signed by President Vladimir Putin last Saturday, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Federal Antimonopoly Service reported that food prices won't increase significantly after the introduction of anti-Turkish sanctions.

Thus, the deputy head of the Ministry of Economic Development, Oleg Fomichev, underlined that the issue is the tempo of substitution of Turkish goods. "If we cannot replace the imported food quickly, in this case there is a minimal increase in food prices," Fomichev said, noting that Turkey is the fifth-largest trading partner of Russia, and food had been a significant portion of Turkish exports to Russia.

The head of the FAS, Igor Artemyev, agreed with him. "I don't think we should expect a large increase in prices, because we are speaking about relatively small amounts, which can easily be replaced by produce from other neighboring countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia and other countries in the EAEC,'' Artemyev said. According to him, today Russian entrepreneurs will find alternative suppliers quickly, as they already have experience after the introduction of sanctions against Europe.

An assistant to the head of Rosselkhoznadzor, Alexey Alekseenko, said in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that these sanctions should not affect prices before New Year. "Firstly, a lot of production has already been imported to Russia. In addition, there are a lot of other countries which intend to use this niche and sell their products. For example, Iran and Armenia openly perceive the sanctions as an opportunity, as well as courtiers of Latin America, East Asia and China are also willing to increase exports,'' he noted.

But experts' opinions differed. An academician, a member of the Academic Council of RANHiGS, PhD Elmira Krytatyh, didn't expect a significant increase in food prices. The expert recalled that Turkish products weren't sold in all parts of Russia. "The absence of Turkish products will lead to increases in prices in those regions where its share was sensitive. But I would not say that it is a tragedy, as the amount of Turkish products has never been significant. Substitution is possible even now, products can be replaced by the produce of other post-Soviet countries. Vegetables can be supported from Argentina and Brazil. Therefore, I think our government is taking the right decision,'' she said.

The Chief Researcher at the center for agricultural and food policy IPEA of RANHiGS, Vasily Uzun, said that supplements may be a problem for Russia in some areas. "Meat and other products, apart for fruit and vegetables, will have a significant impact, as their share is very small. There may be problems only with vegetables and fruits: bananas, citrus fruits, tomatoes and cucumbers. These are the main products that Russia imported from Turkey. I hope that the New Year won't bring us unpleasant surprises," he concluded.