By: Greg Schroeder

On August 6, 2014, the Russian Federation issued an executive decree banning the import of US Origin meat, fruit, nuts, vegetables, dairy products and other foodstuffs in retaliation for recently expanded US economic sanctions placed on Russian banks and individuals.  The ban is currently slated to last one year and will be enforced by the Russian Customs Service through use of specific product descriptions and tariff classifications, with baby food and other essentials exempted (see link below for more details).  It’s important to note that the decree does not preclude US companies as a whole from continuing the export of other goods to Russia.  A government sanctions working group in Russia is reviewing the intended scope of the decree, as some ambiguity exists on implementation between specific food descriptions listed in the ban and the broader tariff numbers where they are classified. 

The situation continues to develop and it’s possible that some clarification on this may be forthcoming.  To avoid the expense of shipping food products only to have them turned away at Russian ports of entry, US exporters should review their product lines for updated information with Russian consignees, logistics agents and customs brokers.  While the Russia-Ukraine tensions continue, exporters are also encouraged to closely monitor amendments to US export control regulations and additional actions taken by the Russian Federation that may further impact US companies and products.