Will Russia's ban on U.S. imports affect East Texas business? - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Will Russia's ban on U.S. imports affect East Texas business?

Russia's ban on imports from the U.S. could impact East Texas businesses. Russia's ban on imports from the U.S. could impact East Texas businesses.
Tensions from the Ukraine crisis, and the political chess game that goes with it, may have an effect on some East Texas businesses and jobs.

The Russian ban on some American imports could cut into exports. The news of Russian bans is still being assessed by business experts in East Texas.

"Well, of course we'll be concerned, if and when anything does move forward with any kind of trade bans. We have a lot of companies in the East Texas region that export goods and services and do business with Russia. But for us it's just too soon to tell at this point," says Susan Gill of the Longview economic development corporation.

Joy Global Surface Mining in Longview has offices and operations in Russia that may be residually effected.

Pilgrim’s Pride exports hundreds of metric tons of chicken to Russia, over $300,000,000 in 2013, but the effect of proposed bans may not be economically disastrous according to their corporate offices. Pilgrim’s Pride representatives we spoke with locally today had no comment on the Russian ban announcement.

The U.S. Chicken Council released the following message, downplaying how much Russia's bans will affect the U.S. chicken market:

Russian President Vladimir Putin today signed a decree to establish restrictions on imports of agricultural products from countries that have imposed economic sanctions on Russia as a result of the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

Although the decree did not specify the products that would be affected, it instructs the Russian government to establish a list of commodities to be restricted, and states that restrictions would be effective for one year. The decree also instructs officials to ensure that restrictions prevent price increases and to establish market-control measures to increase supplies of domestic goods. The National Chicken Council and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council released the following statement:

“We have learned that poultry is one of the commodities to be included on the list. Russia is the second-leading market for U.S. chicken, in terms of volume. In 2013 the U.S. exported about 267,000 metric tons of chicken to Russia valued at $303 million. As its domestic poultry industry has expanded, Russia has in recent years become less important as an export market. Russia currently accounts for only about 7 percent of total U.S. poultry export volume. In the mid-1990s, exports to Russia were as much as 40 percent of that total.

“As a result, we do not expect that a Russian ban on U.S. poultry imports will have a great impact on our industry. The biggest impact, we believe, will be on Russian citizens who will be burdened by higher prices for all food products, especially meat and poultry. The price of poultry in Russia is already rising and has recently been increasing at a rate of 2 percent to 3 percent per week.

“Our industry believes that free and fair trade – particularly with food – should never be used as a political bargaining chip. We look forward to working with the U.S. government to resolve this issue and resume normal trade relations with Russia as soon as possible.”

Only time may tell how the bans will effect businesses. The Texas Department of Agriculture told KLTV this afternoon they will work with those impacted to find possible alternative trade opportunities.

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