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LOCAL: Confusion reigns over exports en route to Russia – ILN member quoted

by Danielle Shaw

Russia’s one-year embargo on agricultural imports from Australia will most inconvenience shippers whose exports are currently en-route to Russian markets.

Canberra is seeking clarification on whether Russia will allow these products entry. 

In a joint statement on Friday (August 80, minister for trade and investment Andrew Robb and minister for agriculture Barnaby Joyce said: “Our immediate focus is to manage those exports that are currently at sea or in transit to Russian markets and to assist in redirecting them, wherever possible, to alternative destinations”.

The embargo, which was issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 6, applies to imports of agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia in response to events in Ukraine.

The ministers have stated that Russia ranks number 28 on Australia’s list of export destinations and that the nation is “certainly not heavily reliant on it [Russia] as a trading partner”.

They stressed that the strong reputation of Australia’s producers means there is always demand in other markets for Australian produce.

However, Andrew Hudson, a partner specialising in international trade and customs at Gadens law firm, feels that our ability to secure alternate markets might be limited by the fact that other big exporters are also looking for alternative markets.

Although further bans on Australian exports haven’t been announced, Mr Hudson feels that Russia may respond to our own threats with further injunctions.

“We’ve certainly threatened more bans including an export on uranium and I would anticipate they would follow up with further bans.

“It might be services, aviation, or even some sort of consular service.”

Other countries affected include the US, Norway, Canada, and members of the European Union.