BERLIN, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt on Thursday said Russia’s decision to ban food imports from Western countries was "regrettable" and put German-Russian agricultural cooperation to a test, German television ARD reported on its website.
The "constructive cooperation" between Berlin and Moscow in matters of agricultural exports is undoubtedly facing a "severe test" after Russia imposed a ban on Western food imports, said the minister.
Schmidt viewed the imports ban as a "regrettable" decision and a "politically motivated" step by the Russian government, according to media reports.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said earlier on Thursday that Russia is imposing a ban on food imports from the EU and the United States, in retaliation for their sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. The ban is valid from Thursday and will last one year.
Schmidt said it was impossible to predict exactly what consequences the import ban will bring to Germany’s food industry. "But one thing is for sure: People will feel its impact," he added.
The minister said Russian consumers would also be directly affected by the ban, among whom "high-quality food products from Germany and other European countries" have enjoyed a good reputation.
According to the German Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services, Russia’s new measures would have an obvious effect on processed German foods that are high in quality, such as meat, sausages and dairy products, for which Russia has been an important market with a good purchasing power.
German food exports to Russia were worth 1.6 billion euros (about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013, according to figures from the German Agriculture Ministry.
Meat and dairy products made up the lion's share of food exports and were valued at 346 million euros and 165 million euros respectively in 2013. (1 euro = 1.34 U.S. dollars)