The Australian Government has dismissed claims that Russia’s import ban on agricultural products from Australia would severely affect the country’s agriculture, saying the sector was not heavily reliant on the Russian market.
The ban on imports of food and agricultural products from the United States, Europe and other Western countries, including Australia, comes in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the West over the crisis in Ukraine.
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce have issued a joint statement saying that the Government was working to assess the full impact of the ban while looking to secure alternative markets.
“Our priority is to ensure the ongoing success of Australian agricultural producers and exporters. The government is already working to ensure Australian producers have access to a wide range of alternative markets,” the statement said.
“The loss of any market is always of concern, and we will work closely with affected producers to minimize the impact on their business.”
“The complicating factor is, and we don’t know what the impact will be, is these bans are also put in place for the US and EU, so it will be interesting to see and we’ll monitor the impact of the potential increase in supply and what that means for prices globally,” said Mr Mahar.
“They have to go somewhere, so if there is a ban in place, then those products automatically go onto the global market and everyone is competing to sell their products to other markets. Australians have to join that battle and make sure we find markets for our products.”
Russia’s import ban extends to fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy products.
Australia’s annual farm exports to Russia amount to $300-400 million, which ranks Russia on the 28-th place on Australia’s list of export destinations.