Russia to ban all U.S. agricultural imports

Retaliating for U.S. sanctions over Ukraine, Russia will ban or limit all American agricultural products for up to a year, a Kremlin official said Wednesday.

All fruits and vegetables from the European Union will also be locked out, the country's agricultural and veterinary watchdog told RIA Novosti. Produce from Canada and Japan will also be blocked.

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

Food prices in Russia would likely rise in the short term because of the import ban, the country's agricultural watchdog said.

The ban is not likely to have a major impact on U.S. farmers and ranchers, said U.S. farm groups.

"It is unfortunate that the biggest losers in this will be Russian consumers, who will pay more for their food now as well as in the long run," Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, told The Des Moines Register.

STORY: US farm groups urge Russia to rescind ban on agricultural imports

Still, farm groups urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to rescind the decree he signed earlier Wednesday authorizing the year-long ban on all agricultural imports from countries that imposed sanctions on Russian companies, banks, politicians and oligarchs because of the conflict in Ukraine.

Last year, U.S. data show, Russia imported about $1.3 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products. That accounted for just over 10% of all U.S. exports to the country.

Poultry was the top U.S. import, worth $310 million, followed by tree nuts ($172 million), soybeans ($157 million), and live animals ($149 million).

Globally, Russia is now the second-largest agricultural importer after China among so-called emerging markets. Imports rose from $7 billion in 2000 to $33 billion in 2008, a U.S. Agriculture Department study reported.


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