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Russia's ban on farming import to harm Spanish economy - Prime Minister

Shortly after Russia declared it was restricting the import of some agricultural products as a counter-measure to Western economic sanctions Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey has acknowledged that this aspect of foreign trade is sensitive to his country.

"This decision is surely of no help to us, but I am certain that it will encourage Spanish producers to work harder," Brey said after a meeting with King Felipe, of Spain, on Majorca Island on Friday.

"Although the bulk of Spanish farming export is EU-bound, the supplies of foods, mostly vegetables and fruit, to Russia are rather significant for our economy," Rajoy said. "Spanish producers in that branch of agriculture had exerted great efforts to better the quality of their products to win a worthy presence on the Russian market."

Rajoy estimates Spain's overall export of agricultural products to Russia at 500 million euros.

On Thursday, August 7, in response to the sanctions the West had introduced against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine Moscow declared it was suspending the import of beef, pork, vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish, cheeses, milk and dairy products from the European Union, Australia, Canada, Norway and the United States.

According to ITAR-TASS estimates based on the Federal Customs Service's 2013 statistics, the value of the twelve-month-long import ban is 9.1 billion dollars. The European Union countries - the providers of 6.5 billion dollars worth of foods from the sanctioned list to the Russian market - will be the hardest-hit. The restricted import from other countries is far smaller - 1.2 billion dollars from Norway (not a EU member), 843.8 million dollars from the United States, 373.6 million dollars from Canada, and 182 million dollars from Australia.

[Source: Itar Tass, Madrid, 09Aug14]

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