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MOSCOW Aug 18 Russia will allow imports from
neighbouring Belarus and Kazakhstan of food processed from
Western raw materials as Moscow seeks to damp down domestic food
price rises triggered by its ban on food imports from the West.
On Aug. 7, Russia banned all meat, fish, dairy, fruit and
vegetable imports from the United States, the European Union,
Norway, Canada, and Australia for one year to retaliate against
Western sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
However, the government has struggled to control price rises
as some 50 percent of Russian consumption of fish, milk, beef
and cheese had been previously met by imports.
"Our Customs Union colleagues can win in this situation
because some products, which were previously coming to us
directly, will be processed there," Russian news agencies quoted
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as saying.
A duty-free Customs Union was set up this year by Russia,
Kazakhstan and Belarus to boost economic ties and trade.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday he
hoped Western food import bans would not last too long.
Belarus and Kazakhstan said they will continue to import
food banned by Russia but Minsk has said it will make sure
sanctioned goods do not cross into Russia.
However, since Moscow announced the bans some traders have
been looking for ways to sidestep them.
Last year, Russia imported $17.2 billion worth of food from
the countries covered by the sanctions, of which $9.2 billion
was in the affected categories, according to the International
Trade Centre, a joint venture of the United Nations and World
(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Polina Devitt; editing by