Region/Countries: Europe, Russia Industry: Agriculture / Timber, Food and Beverage Date: May 2016

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The Russian government has lifted the ban on importing poultry meat, frozen beef, and dried and frozen vegetables used in the production of baby food.

The Russian government has moderated the embargo conditions placed on products imported from the U.S., Canada, Australia, the EU countries, Ukraine and several other European countries. According to a ruling published on the official site of the Russian Legal Information Service, the ban has been lifted on poultry meat, frozen beef, and dried and frozen vegetables used in the production of baby food. Importers will have to prove that products entering Russia are intended for children’s consumption. The Ministry of Agriculture has been tasked with developing a method for authenticating these deliveries. It will also determine the acceptable volumes of the imported products that are no longer affected by the ban.

The food embargo was introduced in 2014 in response to the sanctions imposed against Russia in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and accusations of involvement in Eastern Ukraine. Initially, Russia's embargo included all types of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy and meat products, vegetables, fruit and nuts produced in these countries. However, the ban was soon lifted on lactose-free dairy products. Special products destined for athletes on Russia’s national team, as well as biologically active additives and vitamin-mineral complexes, were also removed from the embargo list.

At the end of May, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government to extend the embargo through the end of 2017, saying that he was concerned about the interests of the domestic agricultural industry.

“Those in the agricultural business and industry – both large agricultural companies and relatively small ones – will receive a longer period for planning their investments, something they had asked us for on many occasions,” Medvedev said at a meeting with members of the Russian Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Union. “They will also have the opportunity to see what will happen in the longer term.”