Russian embargo extended to end of 2018

 Russian embargo extended to end of 2018

The Russian government extended the embargo on certain types of food from countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia in line with the presidential decree, according to a document, published on the Russian government’s website.

"A ban on imports of certain types of agricultural products, raw materials and food, originating from the United States, European Union countries, Canada, Australia, Norway, Ukraine, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland and Lichtenstein, was extended from January 1 to December 31, 2018," the document reads.

"Those restrictions are intended to expand the special retaliatory economic measures to certain states, taking into account the level of their involvement in the anti-Russian sanctions regime," it reads.

On June 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree extending the Russian counter sanctions until December 31, 2018, following the European Union’s move to expand its sanctions on Russia.

The Western sanctions, which were imposed in 2014 amid the political crisis in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia, have since been extended on a regular basis. In August 2014, Russia retaliated by imposing a ban on imports of certain types of agricultural products from the countries that joined the sanctions.

Academician and member of the RANEPA Academic Council, Doctor Elmira Krylatyh, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Russian agricultural producers undoubtedly benefited from the introduction of the embargo three years ago. "The impulse that our agriculture received through the inclusion of an import substitution program is a good proof. Last year was very successful in many economic indicators, and I think that market regulation will gradually move from prohibitions to natural competition, and then the need to resort to an embargo will simply disappear," she said.

The effectiveness of the embargo will depend on the further development of Russia's agriculture. "This year there was bad weather in the summer, and this year's cereal harvest will be much smaller than in the last year, its exports will be reduced. As for imports, it is better to replace products to solve economic and social problems. The country's food independence is the most important thing, but if it comes into conflict with economic circumstances, a deliberate policy will be needed," Elmira Krylatykh stressed.

A research fellow at the center for agrarian and food policy at RANEPA, Vasily Uzun, in turn, noted that the center's studies show the undesirability of a too long product embargo. "We need to proceed from the interests of the population, which should have access to cheap food. The population's expenditure on food should decrease, but  we are still lagging behind the developed countries, because people spend 10-15% of their spending on food there, and we spend 35-40%," he stressed.

According to the expert, the interpretation of food security as self-sufficiency is incorrect. "In this case, we should produce what is cheap for us, and for export purposes as well, and what can be grown at a high price needs to be bought from others. For example, we do not have cheap winter vegetables, but our vegetables in open ground in July-Septemberare cheaper than in the world market," Vasily Uzun cited an example.

"Of course, this issue is more political than economic, but politics should be subordinated to the economy, then it will be beneficial to everyone," the research fellow at the center for agrarian and food policy at RANEPA concluded.