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Russia promises ‘quite substantial’ US, EU food import bans

Russia will impose “quite substantial” bans on the US and EU food imports and has already decided to suspend US poultry imports as part of President Vladimir Putin’s order to prepare a list of food import bans, its veterinary service said.

Putin signed a decree on Wednesday banning or limiting imports of agricultural products from countries which have imposed sanctions on Russia because of its support of rebels in Ukraine.

Putin ordered his government to come up with a list of goods to be banned for imports into Russia and to last one year, the Kremlin said.

Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS) will ban the US poultry imports, VPSS spokesman Alexei Alekseenko told Reuters on Wednesday evening.

He declined to say what other products would be included in the list, but said the ban on the US and EU food imports will be large. Russia imported $43 billion worth of food last year.

“In relation to the US, the country which was imposing sanctions, the decision (on food import bans) will be quite substantial,” Alekseenko said. The same “of course refers” to the European Union, he added.

Apart from boosting local production and expanding cooperation from sanction-resilient countries, Putin’s decision may well become a self-made sanction on the population, Dmitry Polevoy, ING chief economist in Russia & CIS, said in a note.

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