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Dairy firms to discuss Russian food ban

Dairy firms to discuss Russian food ban

Dairy firms are set to discuss the challenges posed by Russia's decision place a ban on food imports.

Representatives of a number of European dairy industries as well as government bodies and the European Commission (EC) will be attending to see what changes can be made to reduce the impact of the restrictions. Trade body Dairy UK explained that while it was still too early to determine how companies will be affected, discussions will surround possible contingency plans.

Earlier in the month, Russia announced that it would be imposing a "full embargo" on food imports from the European Union, US and other Western countries that have been involved in placing sanctions on Russia due to the Ukraine crisis. Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that it would affect fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports.

One of the major areas where the UK is expected to be affected is the fishing industry. The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association (SPFA) told that the embargo could put jobs at risk. Figures from National Farmers Union showed that Russia and the UK do a lot of trade when it comes to food.

The NFU's 2013 statistics showed that the UK exports £115 million worth of produce, including alcohol, to Russia. The organisation stated that £5.7 million of this figures is spent on cheese prompting the country's dairy manufacturers to assess their options for the coming months. Two meetings have been scheduled for September 2nd and 5th of the Special Agricultural Council.

Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, said: "There is no doubt that the ban will have both direct and indirect effects on the European dairy industry before the market reacts and delivers some equilibrium.

"Dairy UK will continue to monitor the potential impact and work with Defra, the European Dairy Association and other industry stakeholders to assess and help mitigate any consequences on the sector."


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