Russia’s food ban against many Western products will help Russia strengthen its domestic food market, President Putin said Thursday.
“Most important- we will develop our own production and will restrict low quality Western goods,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said addressing Crimean parliament members in Yalta on Thursday.
Last week, Russia introduced counter sanction measures, blocking the import of agricultural products from the US, EU, Canada, Norway, and Australia.
“The response of the Russian Federation to Western sanctions is legal and valid. It will help, and not harm our domestic economy,” Putin said.
Russia has already found alternative trade partners. Turkey, which already supplies a fifth of the country’s food, has agreed to provide more. Egypt and Russia are reportedly in talks to set up a free trade zone, and Putin has negotiated with Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador on imports to Russia.
“It’s not just retaliation, primarily it is a measure to support domestic manufacturers, as well as opening our markets to producers from countries that want, and are ready to cooperate with Russia,” the President said.
Economists warn that Russia’s new embargo against Western goods will give way to soaring food prices and higher inflation - which some predict will reach 8 or 9 percent by the end of the year, up from 6 percent.