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Russia Imposes Import Ban on Icelandic Food

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Russia Imposes Import Ban on Icelandic Food

fishermen at work

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Russia has imposed an import ban on food from Iceland and four other countries, according a declaration made by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Kjarninn reports.

Since August of last year Russia has banned the import of food from European Union countries, Australia, Canada, Norway and the United States. The other countries just added to the list of those affected by the ban are Albania, Montenegro, Liechtenstein and Ukraine under special conditions. All have supported European Union sanctions against Russia to protest Russian military involvement in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea

Enormous financial interests are at stake for the Icelandic fishing industry, but the bulk of imports from Iceland is seafood, mainly frozen capelin products, mackerel and herring. In 2013, almost half of all Icelandic mackerel was sold to Russia. Since 2010, the value of Icelandic exports to Russia has been steadily rising, from roughly 11.600 million ISK (79 million EUR, 87 million USD) in 2010 to about 29.200 million ISK (198 million EUR, 220 million USD) in 2014.

Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told RÚV he is deeply disappointed by the ban: “We have done everything in our power to avoid landing on this list,” he said. “We still don’t know the details of implementation of the ban, so we must wait and see. We will try to obtain more information today.”

The possibility of an import ban being imposed on food from Iceland was first announced by Russian officials at the end of July.

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