Malta among least impacted from Russian import bans

Russia has imposed import bans in reply to sanctions from the EU - how much does the Federation actually import from Malta? Little...

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Matthew Vella
8 August 2014, 7:23am
"We live more happily with each day!" Russia will have to depend on domestic production and greater imports from other international partners after it hit Europe, America, Canada and Australia with import bans on agriculture.
Russia has unveiled a retaliation against ‘stage three’ EU sanctions, to ban all imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products from the EU, as well as the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.

Of the EU's agricultural exports, which account for 7% of its total global exports, 10% goes to Russia alone - so 0.7% of the EU's global agricultural exports from the EU go to Russia.

The Baltic countries - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - will be hardest hit in terms of the trade as a share of GDP. Poland, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark will also face losses. Malta faces the least losses in trade.

The latest provisional data from the National Statistics Office show that Malta imported over €168 million in goods and services from Russia, exporting €7.3 million - a deficit of €161 million.

Think-tank Open Europe says the likely fallout will be "higher prices for Russian consumers (driving up inflation more broadly) and reduced consumer choice."

Russian agriculture minister, Nikolai Fyodorov, said greater quantities of Brazilian meat and New Zealand cheese would be imported to offset the newly prohibited items. He added Moscow was in talks with Belarus and Kazakhstan to prevent the banned western foodstuffs being exported to Russia from the two countries.

The Kremlin's move comes in response to the grounding of the budget airline subsidiary of Aeroflot as a result of EU sanctions over Moscow's support for rebels in Ukraine. Medvedev also said officials were considering a ban on European airlines flying to Asia over Siberia.

Russia is Europe's second-largest market for food and drink and has been an important consumer of Polish pig meat and Dutch fruit and vegetables. Exports of food and raw materials to Russia were worth €12.2bn in 2013, following several years of double-digit growth.

EU countries and the US last week stepped up punitive action against Russia in response to Moscow's support for eastern separatists in Ukraine, which has been unwavering despite the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17.

Russia's state-owned banks have been cut off from Europe's capital markets, while its defence and energy firms will no longer be able to import hi-tech western equipment that could have been used for military purposes, fracking or Arctic oil exploration.

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.