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Latvia Federation of Food Enterprises: Russia’s sanctions will impact producers in Latvia

Ināra Šure/LETA.
The recently imposed import restrictions in Russia will impact Latvia’s food producers, says Chairwoman of Federation of Food Enterprises Council Ināra Šure.

She notes that last year’s export volume to Russia was equal to EUR 656 million. «Even though exports to Russia are not at their highest and export volumes of Q1 2014 remained on the same level of 2013, this measure taken by the Russian government may seriously impact Latvia’s food production industry,» – says Šure.

«It is important to understand that Latvian meat producers, dairy producers and fish producers will suffer the most from these sanctions. This is because they export the majority of their products to Russia and other CIS countries. This means that unsuccessful switch to alternative markets would mean an increase of unemployment in the country,» – admits the President of Latvian Federation of Food Enterprises.

She notes that seeing as how measures of Russian authorities have been announced, Latvian producers have to think extra hard how they can explore new export markets. With that, it is expected that this will be very hard for them, because competition on the European market is enormous. Latvian products are already very well-known and respected in Russia and CIS countries.

Šure says the federation supports policies of other EU politicians who ask the EU to compensate losses caused by sanctions and to request Baltic State to be given buffer-zone status, because some countries may suffer more than others from these sanctions.

«What is important now is that if Russia has banned the export of our products, why should we allow the import of their products? This should be discussed on an EU level, because we cannot fight on our own – we are a small country,» – notes Šure.

According to her, it is important for everyone to work together in order to make sure these restrictions imposed by Russia impact entrepreneurs and residents as little as possible. The government should consider providing support to companies impacted by sanctions and promote domestic products.

«One of the possible solutions to this situation would be a procurement of reserves from producers and additional subsidies from the EU. Our representatives in the EU parliament have to demonstrate their worth and prove that electing them was the right decision. They need to do everything they can in order to make sure Latvia is heard in the EU,» – said Šure.
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