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Belgian farmers lose about 5% of turnover due to Russian sanctions

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Staff writer ▼ | June 15, 2016
Belgium’s farmers have lost about 5% of turnover because of the Russian sanctions, Russian trade representative in that country, Anatoly Gorshkov, told TASS.
Belgian farmer
Trade dispute   Sanctions that have been in place for two years
"Sanctions that have been in place for two years already have done no good to businesses, either Russia or Belgian. The sanctions have entailed a considerable trade decline, a freeze of partnership on a number of high technology projects.

"They have hurt Belgian farmers: we used to import from Belgium pears, tomatoes, pork, and dairy products. According to Belgium’s estimates, its farming sector has lost about five percent of turnover," he said.

Belgium’s exports of farming products accounts for about eight percent of its entire exports. In 2014, export of farming products stood at €27.8 billion, or slightly more than 7.8% of overall exports (€356.3 billion).

According to Gorshkov, Belgian farmers have managed to somehow adapt to the Russian sanctions "but not entirely."

"The situation is difficult with dairy products. Selling their products on the European Union’s markets they only add to internal competition. Some of their exports have been re-directed to Africa but it exerts pressure on local producers. The Belgians however are not ready to localize agricultural production in Russia," the Russia trade representative noted.

Russia’s overall trade was not very big, Gorshkov noted. According to Belgium’s National Bank, Russia-Belgium trade dropped by 28% in January 2016 on January 2015.

Russia’s overall trade in 2015 was down by more than 30% and its trade with Belgium decreased by 22%, to 11.4 billion euro.

"This decrease is slightly less than the one in terms of the European Union in general. Exports stood at €8.3 billion, imports - at €3.1 billion, i.e. we have managed to preserve a trade surplus. But our exports reduced in 2015 by less than 22% whereas our imports dramatically sagged," he said.

According to official statistics, practically half of Russia’s exports to Belgium are energy sources - oil and oil products. Next are precious metals, precious and semiprecious stones and article made of them.

Belgium’s direct investments to Russia amounted to $1.08 billion in the first nine months of 2015, and Russia’s investments to Belgium were $490 million.