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Could thawing EU-Russia relations aid the EU food sector?

The industry hopes reported improved relations could lead to Russia taking EU food imports again. The country’s ban has contributed to the current commodity downturn


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Potential improvements in EU-Russia relations are unlikely to have significant direct impact on European food markets.

 

A Russian ban on Western food imports relating to sanctions placed on Russia following its presence in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine is widely acknowledged to have affected EU dairy, beef and pork markets during the commodity downturn.

 

The ban has been in place since last year but, speaking from a Copa-Cogeca meeting in Brussels this week, Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock board chairman, said there were hopes within the industry a ‘thawing’ of EU-Russian tensions could lead to Russia accepting EU produce once again.

 

However, other UK farm experts cast doubts over these rumours.

 

Clive Black, head of research at Shore Capital, said: “Do not forget Russia has filled the vacuum of EU products since this ban was put in place.”

 

The potential thawing of relations relates to reported co-operation between Russia and Western countries over tensions in Syria and the Middle East over recent weeks.

 

“To suggest [because] they are together with a common enemy means everybody overlooks Ukraine and Crimea is a big hope,” Mr Black said.

 

The suggestion Russia may begin to take EU food imports once more comes despite reports the EU will extend economic sanctions on the country for a further six months from January.


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