Ukraine launches counterattack in trade war with Russia

Dec. 31, 2015 13:46

A Russian woman shops for yogurt in Saint Petersburg on August 7, 2014. Russia retaliated against tough new Western sanctions, banning most food imports from the United States and the European Union and threatening to block flights over its airspace. (AFP)

It’s not going to be a happy New Year for Ukrainian importers of a range of Russian goods.

Starting from Jan. 10, Ukraine will restrict imports to the country of 43 Russian products, including vodka, beer, cigarettes, meat, chocolates, dairy products, animal food and locomotives, according to a resolution taken at a government meeting on Dec. 30.

The government said it had approved the import restrictions as a response to a trade embargo of Ukrainian food Russia previously announced it would impose from Jan. 1.

 The full list of banned Russian products is available on the Ukrainian Economy Ministry’s website. The government said there would be a 10-day delay in the full imposition of the ban, as products that are already in transit to Ukraine would reach the Ukrainian market after the ban formally comes into effect on New Year’s Day.

The government also decided to impose Ukrainian import duties on all Russian products starting from Jan. 2. However, it hasn’t yet announced what the duties will be.

Russia decided to freeze its free trade zone with Ukraine from Jan. 1 and ban the import of all food products from the country in a response to Ukraine’s joining a free-trade zone with the European Union from the beginning of 2016.

The Kremlin said it wanted to protect the Russian market from a flood of European products that it said could be caused by freer trade between Ukraine and the EU. It also fears Russian products will become less competitive on the Ukrainian market.

Ukraine’s government said its “mirror” trade restrictions were designed to protect domestic producers.

“For every Russian action, there will be a reaction from Ukraine,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said at the government meeting on Dec. 30. He added the more details of Ukraine’s countermeasures would be released on the day after Russia imposes its trade restrictions.

Yatsenyuk said Ukrainian exports to Russia have already fallen by three times over the three last years, from 35 percent of overall exports in 2012 to the current 12.5 percent.

Agriculture Minister Oleksiy Pavlenko estimated the value of Ukrainian exports that Russia would ban at some $116.4 million, while the value of Russian imports Ukraine planned to ban was some $118.8 million.

“Ukraine will compensate for its export losses at the expense of restricting imports,” Pavlenko said, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s website.


Source : Kyiv Post

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