In spite of a year-long ban on many foreign food imports announced recently by the Russian Government, Russians will still be able to enjoy olive oils from popular origins like Greece, Spain and Italy, sources say.
The ban, which was ordered by President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine, covers 52 categories of imported products from the U.S., Europe, Norway, Canada and Australia, including meat, fish, milk, dairy products, and many processed foods. Olive oil, however, was spared from the blacklist, along with wine and coffee among others.
Speaking in value terms, over 40 percent of Russia’s food is currently imported, according to The Financial Times. The country is considered highly dependent on goods from abroad, importing $30 billion worth of food per year from countries outside the Soviet Union. A combined revenue of between US$8.6 and 9.5 billion is expect to be lost as a direct result of the ban.
The European Commission has responded, saying, “This announcement is clearly politically motivated. The Commission will assess the measures in question as soon as we have more information as to their full content and extent.”
The Commission’s negative views regarding the ban were shared by the majority of European leaders, though the decision will certainly not affect all EU countries equally. Norway and Poland, for instance, are expected to be hit the hardest by the ban, given that these countries each exported over $1 billion in now-banned produce to Russia last year.
Fernando Miranda, Spain’s general director of Productions and Agricultural Markets, estimated that the losses for Europe’s top olive oil supplier would be “limited” given that Spain’s main market is the European Union where it exports 76 percent of its agriculture products, with Russia representing less than 2 percent. Nonetheless Spain still falls within the top ten countries expect to lose the most from the ban. Italy, meanwhile, stands to lose US$285 million and Greece could see US$233 million in losses.
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