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Russia bans Western agricultural imports

On 6 August 2014, Russia imposed a comprehensive ban on imports of agricultural products from the US, European Union, Norway, Australia and Canada. The embargo is a response to Western economic sanctions levied against Russia in relation to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Russian agriculture has still not recovered from the disastrous collectivisation policies of the Soviet period. Despite having one of the highest per capita levels of arable land in the world, Russia is still reliant on imports for around 40% of its food supply. Almost half of these imports came from countries now subject to the trade embargo.

The ban is expected to result in a sharp increase in consumer prices, putting pressure on Russia’s already high rates of inflation. Russian officials have argued the embargo will provide a stimulus to domestic agricultural production, but even under best case scenarios this will take years.