Czech Food Chamber Announces Support for Lifting EU-Russia Sanctions

Prague, Nov 21 (CTK) – The Czech Food Chamber is in favour of lifting the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, as the country could lift its embargo on food imports imposed in 2014, the Food Chamber said in a press release concerning Czech President Milos Zeman’s current visit to Russia.


The Food Chamber’s main argument is the Czech Republic’s dairy export to the Russian Federation, sinking after the embargo was enforced.


Sanctions have cost the Czech dairy industry Kc1bn in the three years of being in place, the Food Chamber said.


However, Czech agriculture exports did not decrease compared to 2013 despite the sanctions, according to data of the Agriculture Ministry.


The Food Chamber has had these arguments since the sanctions were imposed.


While the volume of Czech milk and dairy exports to Russia amounted to Kc238m in 2013, it was Kc188m in January-June 2014, with mainly cheese and powdered milk exports growing, the Food Chamber president Miroslav Toman said.


Losses of direct exporters in the dairy sector amounted to Kc350m in 2014, with the secondary impacts, mainly the milk purchasing price drop, being more significant, the Food Chamber said, adding that the loss reached about Kc400m annually in the following years.


All investment on the Russian market has basically gone to waste as Czech producers will be replaced with suppliers from other production areas, and it will be very difficult for them to return to the market, Toman said.


No Czech dairy company has managed to replace Russia with another export territory, the Food Chamber stated.


The Czech Republic’s agriculture exports to Russia totalled Kc2.45bn in 2013, Kc2.96bn in 2014, Kc2.35bn in 2015, and Kc2.56bn in 2016, according to the Agriculture Ministry data. The volume reached Kc1.9bn in the first three quarters of this year, remaining about the same annually.


The Russian import embargo includes vegetables, meat, poultry and fish.


The Czech Republic has been trying to support agriculture trade with the Russian Federation in the long term, with the current government having posted an agriculture diplomat to the country.