STATEMENT FROM MINISTER SIMON COVENEY TD – Regarding Russian Trade Sanctions

Responding to a Russian announcement of trade sanctions against EU and other countries in the agri-food sector, Minister Simon Coveney TD said that “this move is obviously unwelcome from an Irish and broader EU perspective, but we cannot say it was totally unanticipated, given the recent evolution of events. My Department are currently working to clarify the specific details of the ban. The impact on Ireland will depend both on the products covered by the ban and any knock-on effects on international market prices as banned product seeks replacement markets.

Whilst Ireland’s agri-food export trade with Russia represents less than 2.5% of total agri-food export, this very much belies the importance of this market in terms of its future potential. The obvious preference is for a normalisation of trade relations but these issues cannot be viewed without taking into account the overall political context. ”

“To assist companies exporting to Russia, I have asked Bord Bia to establish an advice line, which will make the most up to date information available to these companies” the Minister said. Bord Bia’s dedicated support unit will assist companies with regard to the trading situation with Russia and help in progressing such opportunities . The dedicated unit may be contacted on 01 6142 292.

While work is continuing to determine exactly what products are covered by the ban, the Minister noted that initial indications were that casein, infant formula and tea extract are not being banned. Casein accounted for €11.3 m of Ireland’s €17.8m dairy exports to Russia in 2013. Russia's ban, as announced, will have a duration of one year and will cover imports into Russia of meat, fish, milk and milk products, fruit and vegetables from the European Union. Other countries affected include the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.

“My Department will maintain an ongoing assessment of the situation, where intensive engagement is already ongoing with Russian authorities regarding agri-trade issues including temporary restrictions already in place on certain exports in specific sectors.” the Minister concluded.

ENDS