How impactful is Russia’s import ban?

The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council says Russia is a significant market, amounting to more than $300 million in poultry exports last year, but food producers like Tyson Foods are not expecting the ban to have a significant impact and say it’s a matter of product redistribution.

 

“We’re disappointed about the loss of the Russian market, but don’t expect the pact to be significant since the volume we ship there can be absorbed by other global markets,”Worth Sparkman, manager of public relations for Tyson Foods told the Washington Post. Russia last week suspended all imports of meat, fish, fruit, vegetable and milk products for one year from the United States, Norway, Canada, Australia and the European Union in retaliation for sanctions the countries imposed on it.

U.S. food producers say the ban won’t impact their companies much, but will the move actually have a greater affect on Russian consumers? Russia spends nearly $10 billion on food from those countries, which Russia’s Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov says will affect about 10 percent of its pork, fish and fruit supply and drive up food prices, according to the Washington Post.

Fyodorov also told Russia Beyond the Headlines that, “We can’t say we’re expecting shortages of any particular foods. Perhaps something will arise, but we’re not expecting it.”

The bottom line is that the industries will survive if the U.S. beef industry is any indication. The United States’ poultry industry will endure what the beef industry went through last year when Russia suspended all imports of beef because of the use of feed additives. The beef industry went from exporting more than $300 million in beef to Russia in 2012 to almost none the following year, but it's still going strong. "We still don't have any plants supplying beef to Russia," Joe Schuele, communications director for the U.S. Meat Export Federation told the Washington Post. "People who are in the meat export business understand that it can be a volatile business at times."  

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