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Scottish ministers seek urgent Russian trade embargo talks

Scottish ministers are seeking urgent meetings with industry leaders to discuss the impact of Russia's trade embargo on food imports from the west.

Scotland currently exports about £45 million of food and drink to Russia annually.

The Scottish mackerel industry, which exports £16 million worth of produce to Russia each year, is expected to be most directly affected.

The ban on food products including fish and seafood, beef, pork, poultry, cured meats, sausages, milk and dairy products and fruit and vegetables came into effect on Thursday night. Alcohol is not included in the ban.

Alex Salmond has chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Committee (SGoRR) to discuss the impact of the trade embargo.

The First Minister said: "The Scottish Government continues to make our concerns about the situation in Ukraine clear and we fully support EU sanctions against Russia.

"This action by Russia will clearly have an impact on some sectors within the Scottish economy, most notably on the mackerel industry which exports £16 million worth to Russia annually from the UK.

"The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Richard Lochhead, has already spoken to representatives from the fishing industry and will be meeting with industry heads as a matter of urgency."

He added: "We will continue talks with companies and producers who export to Russia most likely to be impacted to fully understand the effect of the ban, and also to gauge the ripple effect caused by the ban across the rest of Europe.

"We will also look at developing both new international markets and domestic opportunities which will not only alleviate the impact of this ban in the short term but will also create long-lasting business opportunities which will remain open our food sector well after this ban has been lifted."

The ban follows the imposition of economic sanctions by the EU and US in the wake of the suspected shooting down of Flight MH17 by separatists.

It covers imports from the EU, the US, Australia, Canada and Norway, and will last for one year.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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