Gloomy fish sector awaits Russian rejection

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Exports to Russia from Latvia’s fish canneries are worth about 100 million euros a year, making up half of all fish exports, Latvian Fish Processing Association head Didzis Šmits told Latvian Radio Tuesday.

The sector’s business organization leader guessed that certain producers would have to temporarily suspend operations, taking the risk of never being able to start up again, should a Russian rejection of Latvian canned fish products actually be made official.

“There are particular companies, where the Russian share of their market is quite large. They could be forced to stop production. Will they resume it, ever? I don’t know,” said Šmits.

He declined to specify how many companies might take such a devastating hit from the apparent threat reported in the last week of May.

However he suggested the EU might be petitioned for financial support “as these are the results of common EU policies”, recalling Russia’s embargo on EU food imports already in-place as part of the countervailing trade spat between Russia and the West.

As for the opening of China's market to Latvian products, Šmits pointed out that exports are the result of long-term hard work the results of which are not seen for many years.

"I don't like the way of thinking that just assumes - Russia's locked us out! Let's ship to China!", reminding of how sprats are a traditional favorite food exclusive to Eastern Europe which it's hard to find a place for elsewhere in the world.


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