EU Economics

Outlook ‘bleak’ as sanctions deliver massive blow to Irish-Russia trade

Enterprise Ireland’s Gerard MacCarthy1
Enterprise Ireland’s Gerard MacCarthy

Simon Rowe

A senior Irish trade envoy has described the outlook for Irish food exporters as “bleak” after EU-US sanctions on Russia were recently extended until 2018.

Enterprise Ireland’s manager for the Russian region, Gerard MacCarthy, said Irish exports have taken “a big hit”.

“The Russian market is a massive challenge at the moment. It was never easy, and sanctions don’t make it any sweeter to spin,” he said.

Russia’s ambition to achieve food self-sufficiency – in everything “except exotic fruits” – by 2023 has further dampened optimism among Irish exporters.

The fallout from the ongoing trade war has seen Irish exports to Russia crumble by 50pc due to retaliatory sanctions imposed by the Kremlin on the importation of EU-sourced foodstuffs such as meat and dairy.

The Russian counter-measures in 2014 were in response to EU travel bans and asset freezes on Kremlin-linked individuals following the annexation of Crimea. The US and EU refuses to accept the result of a referendum that saw the region secede from Ukraine.

Irish-Russian trade has been hit by a ‘triple whammy’ of events: the collapse of the ruble, food sanctions, and more recently the Kremlin’s ‘import substitution’ policy.

Before the crisis, Russia had been one of Ireland’s fastest growing export regions with food exports jumping 500pc between 2009 and 2014.

Total exports hit a record €722m in 2014. Goods exports fell to €364m last year – down from €369m in 2015.

Sunday Indo Business

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