The export of stone fruits from the EU continues to decline amid the Russian embargo that Moscow was forced to impose in response to sanctions in 2014. This is stated in the report of European experts prepared for the agricultural service of foreign countries of the US Department of Agriculture.

According to a report that RT reviewed, the European Union is a net exporter of peaches and nectarines, meaning that the export of these fruits significantly exceeds imports. However, in the 2018-2019 reporting year, foreign deliveries of peaches and nectarines fell by 38% - to about 155 million tons. As a result, export revenue amounted to $ 141 million, and Belarus, Switzerland and Ukraine turned out to be the main buyers of European fruits. At the same time, analysts expect that next year the export of products will partially increase due to the projected increase in yield.

The decline in exports during the reporting period was affected by a decrease in domestic supplies, as well as Russian counter sanctions. The latter, in particular, led to losses of $ 170 million, the authors explain.

“Due to the Russian embargo on agricultural and food products, introduced in 2014, the export of peaches and nectarines from the EU to Russia remains at an insignificant level with losses of $ 170 million,” the document says.

Recall that Russia was forced to impose a ban on imports of certain types of agricultural products from the USA, EU, Canada, Australia and Norway in August 2014 in response to Western sanctions. The restrictions affected vegetables, fruits, sausages, meat, seafood, fish, as well as cheeses and other dairy products. According to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Moscow will lift the embargo when Western states lift their restrictions.

Over the course of five years, EU countries and the United States several times extended restrictions against Russia. Moscow did the same. In June, the ban on food imports was extended until the end of 2020.

It is worth noting that Russia bears the costs of Western sanctions, but they can not be compared with the losses of foreign states.

“Look, according to expert data, as a result of all these restrictions, Russia over the years, starting in 2014, lost about $ 50 billion somewhere, the European Union lost $ 240 billion, the United States lost $ 17 billion (we have a small trade turnover with them), Japan - $ 27 billion. This nevertheless affects jobs in these countries, including the EU countries: they are losing our market, ”Putin said.

"Cherry" on the sanctions

Russian countermeasures also affected the export of European cherries and cherries, the report says for the US Department of Agriculture. According to experts, in four years the EU has lost $ 41 million.

“The export of cherries and cherries from the EU was directed mainly to Belarus, Switzerland and Serbia, and its export to Russia was insignificant due to the Russian embargo, the losses from which over a four-year period amounted to $ 41 million,” analysts write.

Despite the losses, the total export of cherries from the EU this year increased by 14% and is estimated at $ 20 million. However, unlike peaches and nectarines in the reporting year 2019-2020, a decrease in the yield of these berries is predicted.

One of the main producers of cherries in the EU is Poland. According to analysts, it was this country that suffered the most from the Russian embargo. After the ban was introduced, Polish suppliers reoriented sales to Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

“Poland has been looking for other export markets since Russia introduced the embargo in 2014. Before its introduction, Russia was the main market for the export of both cherries and cherries from Poland, it accounted for 60% of all Polish exports of these berries, ”European experts point out.

It is more difficult for individual EU countries to cope with the consequences of the embargo, said Andrei Suzdaltsev, Deputy Dean of the HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, in an interview with RT.

“Cherry, as well as apples in Poland, is a huge industry that requires guaranteed sales,” said the expert. “Failures such as sanctions and retaliation have dealt a tremendous blow to the production of export fruits; farmers have suffered big losses.” In general, Europe will survive these losses, but it’s hard for individual countries. ”

  • Harvesting
  • © imago stock & people

The choice in favor of a domestic manufacturer

Meanwhile, the Russian market is successfully adapting to new realities. Thanks to countermeasures, the process of import substitution is ongoing in the country, agriculture is developing, Suzdaltsev explained. Many residents got jobs and earn money on it. In addition, in his opinion, the mood of the Russian buyer has changed since 2014, which also contributed to the growth of its own production.

“We began to choose our products more. The Russians "ate" Western goods, tired of them. This opened up the Russian market, our manufacturers have gained strength. As Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, this year Russia has achieved food security, ”said Suzdaltsev.

For five years, the Russian market has successfully rebuilt. Peaches, for example, are grown in the Kuban, in the Crimea, and also purchased in Azerbaijan, the expert added.

“The Russians did not wait for the lifting of sanctions. The market developed in favor of both the Russian consumer and the manufacturer. Many products are now manufactured here or delivered from republics to the former Soviet Union, ”said Vladimir Olenchenko, senior researcher at the Center for European Studies at IMEMO RAS.

According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in 2013 (before the embargo was introduced), the agricultural sector of the Russian Federation produced 3.46 trillion rubles, and in 2018 this figure grew to 5.12 trillion rubles. At the same time, imports of agricultural raw materials decreased significantly. The Federal Customs Service estimated that until 2013, the import of goods into the Russian Federation reached $ 43.23 billion, and last year amounted to approximately $ 29 billion.

In addition, Russian farmers were able to increase exports and enter foreign markets for a number of agricultural products. In particular, Russia regained leadership in the supply of grain crops.

  • Buyers in the Auchan shopping center in Krasnodar
  • RIA News
  • © George Zimarev

Europe protests

This is not the first time that the United States Department of Agriculture has indicated a decrease in exports of European stone fruits due to Russia's response. So, earlier, the ministry said that in 2016-2017, the European Union lost about $ 212 million. At the same time, Hungarian and Polish manufacturers suffered especially tangible damage.

Meanwhile, many farmers in the EU opposed the policies of Brussels and the governments of their countries. For example, in Poland, farmers demanded compensation from the authorities for losses. Last year, during a protest rally, they blocked the country's largest motorway, and in 2015 they came to Warsaw on tractors and created serious obstacles to road traffic.

EU losses from the food embargo have also been recognized by the UN. In March, Idriss Jazairi, special rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on rights and freedoms, said that anti-Russian sanctions are more harmful to European companies than the Russian Federation.

“From the point of view of the European Union, it is extremely strange to impose sanctions that cause more damage to European companies than Russian ones,” said a UN spokesman.

Voices against anti-Russian sanctions are voiced in the European Parliament. As the French MEP Nadine Morano previously noted, the measures taken had no political impact, while retaliatory steps from Moscow caused "real harm to European producers." A similar point of view is shared by some authorities in Germany.

“EU sanctions against Russia do not really affect us. But Moscow’s sanctions against Germany are causing us the most damage, especially in agriculture, ”said German politician Mike Moring.

Anti-Russian restrictions are seriously affecting the EU economy, political analyst Vladimir Olenchenko believes, but the problems that manufacturers in Europe are experiencing today were partially present before. They simply turned a blind eye or compensated for the damage due to other resources of the European economy.

“In recent years, there has been a slowdown in the European economy, and the search is beginning to improve. In this regard, the EU recalls that goods could be sold in the Russian Federation, but sanctions hinder Russian-European relations. In this regard, figures about the damage are voiced, ”commented Olenchenko.