FTA calls EU leaders to address trade barriers with Russian authorities
Brussels, 27 January 2014. Ahead of the EU-Russia Summit to be held on 28 January, the Foreign Trade Association (FTA), representing European retailers and traders, calls upon the EU leaders to address trade barriers that are negatively affecting European businesses in Russia. The FTA considers the country a promising distribution market which has led to major investment and opening of stores by European retailers and wholesalers over recent years. To realise the full potential, Russia needs to lift the ban on products like dairy and meat from Western and Central European countries.
As raised by the FTA during its discussions with decision makers at the EU Commission and Parliament, “these partial bans demonstrate a protectionist tendency that is causing significant disadvantages and financial losses to the European retail and wholesale sector”, declared Jan Eggert, FTA Director General.
Increased procurement costs, loss of commodity volumes, consumers discontent and quality drop are some of the negative consequences caused to the retail sector by a set of disproportioned and unsupported bans, while Russian imports into the EU face little barriers.
“In view of the EU-Russia summit and the slight impact that the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has brought to facilitating investment and trade in Russia, we call upon the EU to augment pressure on the Kremlin in order to achieve a more business friendly environment. Russia should revoke these restrictive regulations and fulfil its obligations in the framework of the WTO. Furthermore, both actors should aim at reviving the stalled negotiations for a modernised Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which should contain a strong chapter on trade”, asserted Mr Eggert.
Russia is a crucial economic partner for European businesses and the FTA looks optimistically to a future economic engagement of its members in the country. “We believe there is still plenty of untapped potential in Russia with its retail market worth 600 billion Euros per year, but we cannot let these discriminatory measures have such an impact on our suppliers. We want to prevent at all costs a trade conflict between both political actors, but the EU should stand firmly against these abuses and, in case of systematic non-compliance, consider challenging the country at the WTO”.
* * *
For further information, please contact:
FTA Trade Policy Advisor
tel: + 32 2 762 05 51
About the FTA
FTA is Europe's premier association for trade policy and global supply chains. FTA represents retailers, importers and brand manufacturers in the political arena and in public to promote and defend free trade and supports their international business by providing information and practical solutions. The Association supports its Members to improve sustainability in the international supply chain.