RUSSIA RETALIATES BY BANNING FOOD IMPORTS

On 7 August 2014, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia has banned certain food imports in response to the sanctions imposed by the west in view of the crisis in Ukraine.

Medvedev said that Russia has banned the import of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products and a wide range of processed foods from the US, the EU, Australia, Canada and Norway with immediate effect. “There is nothing good in sanctions and it wasn’t an easy decision to take, but we had to do it,” Medvedev said. The Prime Minister said that the ban will last for one year, but could be lifted or amended “if the situation changes”.

The decision follows the publication of a decree signed by President Putin on 6 August which ordered the Russian government to prohibit certain food imports from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russian persons and companies.

Medvedev also said that Russian officials are considering a ban on European airlines flying to Asia over Siberia, and that Moscow is “potentially ready” to introduce sanctions in a number of sectors, including the automobile industry, shipbuilding and aircraft production.

Russia is Europe’s second largest market for food and drink. Exports of food and raw materials to Russia have seen strong growth in recent years and were worth £9.7bn (€12.2bn) in 2013. The sanctions follow smaller scale bans imposed by the Russian government in recent months on particular food products for purported hygiene violations. The retaliatory measures show an escalation in Russia’s response to EU sanctions, and were imposed following the grounding the Russian budget airline subsidiary Aeroflot earlier this week.

 

 

 

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About Michael O'Kane

Michael O’Kane is a partner and Head of the Business Crime team at leading UK firm Peters & Peters. Described as ‘first-rate’ (Legal 500 2012), he “draws glowing praise from commentators” (Chambers 2013) for handling the international aspects of business crime, including sanctions, extradition and mutual legal assistance. Called to the Bar in 1992 and prior to joining Peters & Peters he was a senior specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters(CPS). At CPS HQ he was a key member of a small specialist unit responsible for the prosecution of serious and high profile fraud, terrorist and special interest criminal matters including the Stansted Airport Afghan hijacking and the prosecution of Paul Burrell (Princess Diana’s butler). Michael joined Peters & Peters in 2002. He became a partner in May 2004, and Head of the Business Crime team in May 2009. Since joining Peters & Peters, Michael has dealt with a wide range of business crime matters. He has particular expertise in international sanctions, criminal cartels, extradition, corruption, mutual legal assistance, and FSA investigations. Described as“ an influential practitioner in fraud and regulatory work, so much so that he is top of the referral lists of many City firms for independent advice for directors” (The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2009), he was recognised as one of the UK’s most innovative lawyers in the 2011 FT Innovative Lawyer Awards and included in the list of the UK's leading lawyers in 'The International Who's Who of Asset Recovery 2012. In 2012 he was the winner of the Global Competition Review Article of the Year. Michael regularly appears on television and radio to discuss his specialist areas and he is the author of the leading textbook on the UK Criminal Cartel Offence “The Law of Criminal Cartels-Practice and Procedure” (Oxford University Press 2009). Recent/Current Sanctions Work • Representing 109 individuals and 12 companies subject to designation by the European Council under targeted measures imposed against Zimbabwe. This is the largest and most complex collective challenge to a sanctions listing ever brought before the European Court. • Acting for a former Egyptian Minister and his UK resident wife, challenging their designation by the European Council of Ministers under targeted measures brought against former members of the Egyptian Government. • Advising a company accused in a UN investigation report to have breached UN sanctions imposed in relation to Somalia. • Advising a UK company in relation to ongoing commercial relationships with an Iranian company listed under both EU and UN sanctions. • Advising an individual in relation to a UK investigation for alleging breaching nuclear export controls.

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