Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday issued an executive order to eliminate imports of agricultural goods from several countries, including the U.S., for one year in an apparent effort to retaliate on sanctions.
The ban is expected to cover "everything [in the agricultural sector] that is produced and imported to Russia from the United States," a Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance aide told Russian news outlet RIA Novosti Wednesday, though an official list of affected products has not been released.
Several other exporting countries are expected to be listed in the ban, including the European Union, Canada and Japan – all of which have placed sanctions on Russia due to its action in Ukraine, RIA reported.
A key ag market for the U.S., exporters shipped $1.3 billion worth of food and ag products to the country in fiscal year 2013, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
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American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser says that though the market is important, it's only one of hundreds of customers worldwide.
"By limiting his people's access to American soybeans and other products, he does a great disservice to his Russian countrymen and women," Gaesser said in a press statement. "Sanctions and bans like the one proposed by President Putin serve only to hurt the Russian people by limiting their access to the food and products they need and want."
Russia restricts pork, turkey and beef, and earlier this year refused a shipment of yogurt products destined specifically for the mouths of U.S. Olympians because the products did not satisfy the country's safety assurance requirements. Russia closed its doors to U.S. dairy in 2010, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
Despite the market access issues, the country joined the World Trade Organization in 2012, the same year the U.S. repealed the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act, which allowed for establishment of permanent normal trade relations with Russia.
Many agriculture groups, including the American Soybean Association, supported the move.
"ASA pushed hard for the establishment of permanent normal trade relations with Russia last year because of the significant growth and opportunity presented in the Russian marketplace," Gaesser said. He explained that soybeans are the biggest crop export from the U.S. to Russia, due in large part to that country's burgeoning economy and growing demand for meat.
"It remains to be seen which commodities and products appear under the Russian ban, and while we certainly want to see a key market protected, it is equally important for American farmers to demand a higher standard from our trading partners.
"In this case, that standard is not being met, and we urge President Putin to rescind this ban," he said.