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​EU to urge Latin America not to export food to Russia

Published time: August 12, 2014 09:52
Edited time: August 12, 2014 12:37

Reuters / Eric Gaillard

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The European Union is reported to be planning to dissuade Latin American countries from providing Russia with agricultural produce, saying it would be unfair and ‘difficult to justify.’

We will be talking to the countries that would potentially replacing our exports to indicate that we would expect them not to profit unfairly from the current situation,” the Financial Times (FT) quotes one senior EU official talking at a briefing on the situation in Ukraine on Monday.

The food producers could sign new contracts with Russia, but it would be “difficult to justify” the desire of the countries to pursue the diplomatic initiatives to fill the gap left by the EU, the official added.

Another EU official explained that negotiations could be part of political discussions aimed at addressing the importance of a united international front on Ukraine, rather than hindering food exports to Russia.

Despite being the world’s largest trading bloc, the EU has little influence, as its 15-year negotiations with Latin America’s Mercosur have been mired in difficulties over market access.

Since Russia imposed an import ban on agricultural products from the EU, US, Australia, Norway and Canada, several Latin America countries and trade groups have said Moscow’s measures could offer them a lucrative windfall.

READ MORE: Russia’s import ban means big business for Latin America

Chile is already tipped as a major beneficiary of Russia’s embargo on European fish, while Brazil immediately gave a green light to about 90 meat plants to start exporting chicken, beef and pork.

Russia has the potential to be a large consumer of agricultural commodities, not just meat,” Seneri Paludo, Brazil’s Secretary for Agricultural Policy said, citing that Russia may also increase procurement of corn and soya beans.

Besides Latin America benefitting from the embargo, Belarus and Turkey are also believed to win from the supply gap.

The EU member states are meeting in Brussels on Thursday where they are expected to work out a comprehensive response to Russia’s food embargo.