Russia escalates tensions with expansion of EU food import ban

 
Guy Bentley
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(Source: Getty)

Russia is ramping up its tit-for-tat trade war with the EU through an extension of the food import ban to include animal fats and offal.

Russia's food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said the ban will come into effect today and applies to cattle and pig by-products, meat offal, cattle fat, pork fat (including lard) and bird fat.

The Russian authorities claimed EU food hygiene was substandard and cited 17 cases from five EU countries. Back in August, Russia imposed a one-year ban on European fruits, vegetables and meat.

The US, Canada, Australia and Norway have also suffered sanctions from Russia in response to interference in the conflict over Ukraine. The new restrictions hail yet more bad news for Europe's agriculture sector as Russia remains the second largest market for European produce after the US.

The European Union has already received emergency funding worth €155m (£124m) from the European Commission to compensate farmers hit by the embargo.

European Commission spokesman Roger Waite has claimed the ban would cost “massively under €5bn (£4bn)." But analysts at the Benelux bank ING estimated it will cost EU economies €6.7bn (£5.3bn) and could result in 130,000 jobs being cut.

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