Apr 21, 2016

Hungarian agriculture and food processing have suffered 4.5 bn USD in losses from sanctions agains Russia

“Hungary has an interest in the alleviation of the Russian embargo and in its partial lifting with regard to agricultural products,” said Gyula Budai, ministerial commissioner for economic measures relating to the Russian embargo, speaking at a press conference in the southern town of Szentes.

The commissioner said that Hungary would like EU member states to avoid coming to an automatic decision on the issue at the end of July but for there instead to be a debate examining to what extent the sanctions introduced have achieved their intended goals.

The sanctions, which were introduced in August 2014, have caused some 4.5 billion USD in losses to the Hungarian economy, the greatest losers being the agriculture and food processing sectors, he told reporters. The Hungarian standpoint is that a crisis cannot be solved through sanctions, he added.

The ministerial commissioner declared that government measures aimed at alleviating the effects of the embargo, including the consolidation of internal markets and finding new, alternative markets, have had some success. Business for the Hungarian food industry has increased significantly in southern and southeast Asia, and especially in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, and they are also working on gaining access to the Thai market, he continued.

Commissioner Budai stressed that the Russian market remains extremely important to Hungary, Hungarian companies regularly advertise at Russian food industry expos and several enterprises have been approved at food safety authority audits, meaning they could begin shipping their products as soon as the embargo is lifted.