Food Exporters Await Details on Russia’s Food Import Ban

While it may not yet have deteriorated to the point of resumption of a Cold War between Russia and the West, a one-sided food fight has broken out. In a decree issued on August 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin banned food and agricultural imports from countries that have imposed economic sanctions against his country tied to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support of pro-Russian rebels fighting Ukraine government forces in the eastern region of the country, where a Malaysian commercial airliner was shot down three weeks ago.

Russian Federation imports of meat, fruit, vegetable and dairy items reportedly account for approximately 16% of the EU’s exports of such products. Additionally, Russia is the second biggest importer of poultry from the United States, buying some $310 million worth of poultry (primarily frozen chicken) in 2013. The total value of US exports of food and agricultural products to Russia last year was $1.3 billion.

Details regarding the food import prohibitions  are expected to be released on August 7, along with measures that Putin says will be taken prevent a jump in food prices in Russia.

A senior US administration official told CNN a ban in imports will only deepen Russia's international isolation and work against the country's own economic interest.

"Russia's Central Bank yesterday pointed out that bans on imported food will push up the country's already high inflation rate, eroding the purchasing power of Russian citizens," a senior US administration official told CNN.

The list of banned products will be "very substantial," said Alexey Alekseenko, an assistant to the head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance in Russia.

Several countries imposed sanctions on Moscow after Russia annexed Crimea in March, which escalated Meanwhile, an ongoing buildup of Russian troops along the Ukraine border raised concerns Tuesday that Moscow might be contemplating another intervention like the annexation of Crimea.

According to a NATO official, Russia now has stationed about 20,000 troops "in an area along the entire border with eastern Ukraine. The military buildup nearly doubled the troop deployment in the last week by adding 8,000 more forces to 12,000 already there.”