WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — In response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement Aug. 6 of an impending retaliatory ban on a significant number of agricultural imports to Russia, American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser highlighted soybean farmers’ concerns with the ban, that would halt the import of a yet-to-be-determined list of farm and food commodities from countries that have placed sanctions on Russia as a result of its building aggression in neighboring Ukraine.
“Russia is a key trading partner for U.S. agriculture, and the Russian people are our customers like so many others in the world’s emerging markets. However, we would add that Russia, while very important, is only one of hundreds of our customers worldwide. By limiting his people’s access to American soybeans and other products, he does a great disservice to his Russian countrymen and women.
“ASA pushed hard for the establishment of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia last year because of the significant growth and opportunity presented in the Russian marketplace. Soybeans are the biggest crop export from the U.S. to Russia, due in large part to that country’s burgeoning economy and growing demand for meat. Sanctions and bans like the one proposed by President Putin serve only to hurt the Russian people by limiting their access to the food and products they need and want.
“It remains to be seen which commodities and products appear under the Russian ban, and while we certainly want to see a key market protected, it is equally important for American farmers to demand a higher standard from our trading partners. In this case, that standard is not being met, and we urge President Putin to rescind this ban.”