LONDON, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Russian sanctions on imported foodstuffs from the European Union (EU), the United States and other Western nations will have little effect on Britain, a British economist said Friday.
Neil Shearing, chief emerging market economist at Capital Economics, said that the Russian ban, as it is currently constituted, will last for 12 months and cover a range of foodstuffs, including fruit, dairy, vegetables.
"It essentially means that Russia is not going to be able to import very much fresh food from mainly Europe but also the U.S. and other Western markets like Australia, Canada, and Norway too," he said.
However, the impact on British exporters to Russia is likely to be very small.
Shearing told Xinhua, "In terms of Europe, and in particular the UK, in aggregate the impact of this is going to be quite small. Russia is an export market for Europe and for European food producers it is quite small. If we look at agriculture this is not going to be a big deal, particularly for the UK -- it is tiny."
British exports of foodstuffs to Russia are small.
In 2013 the largest food and drink exporter by value was the frozen fish sector with 17 million pounds (28.5 million U.S. dollars) of exports.
This was followed by exports of cheese (5.7 million pounds) and coffee (5.3 million pounds).
Shearing said that some EU nations would be hit, “There are one or two countries which do look a bit more exposed. Lithuania is one of those.”
Russia is a large export market for EU foodstuffs. In 2011 Russia bought 21.5 percent of EU vegetables exports and 28 percent of fruit exports.
Such a ban on foodstuffs, imposed after the EU, the United States and other Western nations imposed sanctions on Russia over the situation in Ukraine, will have an effect on Russia.
Shearing said, “The hope clearly from Moscow is that it will have no impact on the Russian economy at all. The hope is that what will happen is that Russian producers will step in and fill the void left by imports. Unfortunately past form suggests that this rarely happens.”
Shearing said previous import bans instituted by Russia had led to rising prices as supplies were squeezed.
"Very often domestic production does not actually respond. So I suspect what it means for Russia is faster rates of inflation," said the expert.
It was difficult to gauge how much impact it would have on inflation, especially because Russia has just enjoyed a successful harvest which will drive down prices.
"It could add anything from 0.5 to 2 percent to Russian inflation, so not insignificant," said Shearing.
"Particularly given that inflation at the moment is quite high and the central bank is already in tightening mode so that they may need to raise interest rates further with an additional headwind for the Russian economy," said Shearing.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that Russia is imposing a ban on food imports from the EU and the United States, which were taken in retaliation for the Western sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
The Russian government imposed a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway, the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Medvedev as saying.
He said that Russia has long restrained from responding to the sanctions imposed by the West. (1 pound = 1.68 U.S. dollars)
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