EU says increased farm exports offset Russian ban
The EU said Tuesday an increase in farm exports to other markets had more than offset a Russian import ban which cost the bloc's farmers nearly five billion euros in the past year.
"Over the entire period since the embargo started, the EU agri-food sector has managed to compensate the losses in export sales to Russia by increasing exports to other main destinations and alternative markets," the European Commission said in a statement.
Stung by an EU decision to impose damaging economic sector sanctions after the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine in July, Moscow retaliated with a ban on imports of beef, pork and poultry meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables.
As a result, EU food exports to Russia plunged 43 percent to 6.3 billion euros in the year to July 2015, the Commission said.
But the 28-nation bloc also saw total farm exports rise six percent to more than 127 billion euros, more than making up for the Russian downturn, it said.
The Commission, the EU's executive arm, said the US market, the bloc's biggest, jumped 16 percent to 18.26 billion euros while China soared 33 percent to 2.35 billion euros.
The EU has imposed a series of sanctions against Moscow for its alleged support of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and recently extended them well into next year.
In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin similarly extended his food import ban by a year.
Putin, who denies any Russian involvement in the conflict, has repeatedly dismissed the EU sanctions regime as ineffective and counter-productive to peace efforts in Ukraine.
© 2015 AFP