Because of the incessant saber-rattling that Vladimir Putin is conducting on the borders of the Ukraine, his annexation of Crimea, and his support for the rebels accused of shooting down a Malaysian civilian airliner, the West has joined forces and imposed sanctions on the country, a move that hasn't set well with the Russian president.
Data: International Trade Centre
Europe, on the other hand, exported $15.8 billion worth of food stuffs last year, or 10% of its total exports, with Russia importing 21.5% of the EU's vegetables in 2011, and 28% of its fruit.
Poland's apple growers export half of their production to Russia each year, and Finland is worrying that its struggling economy may turn into a crisis, as 10% of its output is shipped to the Federation, its third-largest export market.
And the winners
In short, the loser list is relatively small, but the winner list may not be much larger. Some markets like Brazil are already benefiting from the sanctions the West impose. Brazil counts Russia as a large destination for its beef, pork, and poultry products as it is, but according to its Association of Meat Exporters, beef exports rose 19% last month to $692 million, while meat export volumes surged 79% to 41,000 tons.
But it is still taking some creativity to do so, as Russia previously imposed a ban on Brazilian meats because of food safety concerns. Moreover, meat packers like JBS have facilities in both the U.S. and Mexico that are covered by the ban, though it says it will use plants spread out across a diverse geographic landscape to meet the new demand. For example, it has eight facilities in Brazil that have been approved for exports, and has more plants elsewhere.
Russia is steering shipments to new markets like Brazil. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Certainly, ties between U.S. exporters that were only recently reestablished have been torn apart again. But beef, pork, and chicken producers are in the midst of a protein popularity contest , where shortages were causing prices to skyrocket. If foreign markets can't be found for their products (though producers say they've already located them), there will be plenty of domestic consumers willing to buy them up.
In the end, it seems all that Putin has done is hurt his own people. Analysts see western sanctions raising interest rates in Russia and causing inflation -- already running at around 7% -- that will sting consumers more sharply. As always, it is the people who pay the price for the actions of their leaders.
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The article Are There Any Winners From Russia's Ban on U.S. Imports? originally appeared on Fool.com.
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