Ban on Russia's grain imports to be debated in Latvian parliament

On January 18 the Saeima submitted for committee discussion amendments to the Agriculture and Rural Development Law prepared by the National Alliance (NA), which provides for a ban on the supply of agricultural and processed agricultural products in Latvia from Russia and Belarus.

NA notes that the purpose of the amendments is to stop the circulation of Russian grain and other products, preventing them from being brought to the European Union (EU) market via Latvia.

While the EU has imposed various sanctions on Russia, they do not prevent agricultural products from being exported to the EU, the political force says. The amendments therefore seek to prevent the supply of agricultural and processed agricultural products from Russia and Belarus. According to NA, efforts should be made to ban imports of these products throughout the EU.

"When we buy bread in a shop, we have to be sure it doesn't contain Russian grain or stolen grain from Ukraine. Just like Latvia stopped buying Russian gas and the rest of the Baltics followed, this time we can get the European market for Russian grain closed," said NA deputy Jānis Grasbergs.

The politician notes that such a decision will also help Latvian farmers and businesses, because currently some local products are being competed by Russian goods, which have lower production costs. Grasbergs cited fodder products made in Russia as an example.

Last year, imports of grain from Russia increased rapidly in Latvia, with Latvia becoming the largest importer in the EU, thus actually ensuring that blood money reaches the Russian budget through the state, NA emphasizes.

Currently, no precise data is available on how many of the imported grains remain in Latvia - this means that any Latvian buyer, without knowing it, can buy products manufactured in Latvia that are made from Russian grain, according to the political force.

Similar ideas have also been discussed in the ruling coalition, but it looks forward to joint action by the European Union on this issue.

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