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Russia may ban EU chocolates, flowers

Russia is also preparing adjustments to the importation of flowers.

By Ed Adamczyk
Russia may ban EU chocolates, flowers
Candy imports from European Union countries to Russia could be curtailed. File photo by Curioso/Shutterstock

MOSCOW, June 24 (UPI) -- A Russian reaction to the extension of European Union economic sanctions will likely include a ban on foreign chocolates, and a boost to its own candy industry.

European Union (EU) sanctions, a response to Russian military action in Ukraine, were extended Tuesday to January 2016, and a reactive embargo against EU countries could be extended to the confectionary industries of Belgium, France and Germany.

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"We will bring up the proposal of banning confectionary import to the territory of our nation," Russian Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev said Wednesday. Russian candy producers are convinced they can manufacture premium-quality candies on a par with those from EU countries.

Alexey Alekseyenko of the Russian Federal Agency for Agricultural Control, said Russia can make "elite sorts of chocolate" of its own.

France exports about $38 million in chocolates annually to Russia; Belgium exports about $47 million annually.

Russia is also preparing to replace EU flowers with flora of its own, as well as flowers imported from Latin America. The Netherlands earned about $226 million in 2014 in exporting tulips and other flowers to Russia.

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"Many other countries are willing to supply us flowers, and in this case, our industry in the area will begin to slowly recover should there be an embargo. Also, there have been calls for a long time to import flowers from Latin America directly rather than from the Netherlands," Alekseyenko said.

Decisions to ban additional EU products from Russia have not yet been finalized, the Agricultural Ministry said.

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