Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Canadian farmers face Russian trade ban

Russia has banned food imports from Canada for one year, including meat, milk and vegetables. It’s retaliation for Canada’s economic sanctions designed to pressure Russia to get out and stay out of the Ukraine.

Russia also banned all agricultural imports from the United States and other countries imposing trade sanctions related to the Ukrainian situation.

Canada’s pork industry has the most to lose, but production has declined so much that prices are at record highs and there will undoubtedly be other buyers eager to take whatever Russia won’t.

However, Gary Stordy, spokesman for the Canadian Pork Council, said there could be significant disruptions for particular items. For example, Russians buy a lot of trimmings to make sausage.

Stordy said “we believe Canada has gone to great lengths to provide specific pork products that have been requested by the Russian market and any disruption of trade could have an impact on our industry.”

He said Canada allows Russians to inspect packing plants to ensure food-safety standards are being met.

Canada’s agriculture and food exports to Russia totaled $563 million in 2012 and were steadily increasing.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz went on a trade mission last year and announced deals worth $11 million.

Russia has been imposing trade bans on specific meat-packing plants for a couple of years, citing food safety concerns.

It’s most recent move came earlier this week against poultry products from the U.S. Russia announced it will be doing more testing of U.S. chicken at its ports of entry and complained that some chicken from the U.S. has been contaminated with salmonella, listeria and antibiotic residues, including tetracycline.