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Analysts downplay Russian ban on EU produce

Parliament

Russia's ban on farm products from the European Union will not have a big effect on Hungary, an industry insider and analysts told Hungarian news agency MTI yesterday.

Béla Martonffy, chairman of fruit and vegetable sellers association FruitVeb, said just 5-7% of the 2.5 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables produced by Hungarian farmers last year went to Russia. He put the value of the exports at HUF 15 bln-20 bln. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev yesterday announced a one-year ban on fruit, vegetable, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.

K&H Bank chief analyst Dávid Németh said Hungary's farm exports to Russia added up to about HUF 70 bln last year, just 0.3% of total exports. Still, he said the ban could take 0.2 percentage point off GDP growth. András Balatoni of ING Bank also said the ban could shave 0.1-0.2 percentage point off of GDP growth. Erste Bank analyst Orsolya Nyeste said the ban was unlikely to have a significant effect on Hungary's growth outlook.

President-CEO Ferenc Lévai of fishing company Aranyponty told MTI that the ban will not exercise an impact on Hungary's fishing industry. Lévai said that Hungary exports about 20%-25% of its annual yield of fish, primarily to Romania and countries in Western Europe.

Hungarian Broiler Federation President Lászlo Bárány told MTI that companies in Hungary export a significant amount of turkey, duck and goose meat to Russia and will thus be forced to compete with one another to find alternative markets for these products both abroad and at home. Bárány noted that Hungary's does not, however, export a significant amount of broiler chicken to Russia. 

Hungary's Ministry of External Economy and Foreign Affairs informed MTI that the ban could harm European Union producers and exporters as well as Russian consumers. The ministry said that the ban could also have a negative influence on prospering bilateral Hungarian-Russian economic relations as well as relations between the European Union and Russia.

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