Germany is one of the largest exporters of agricultural products worldwide. The Russian import sanctions on agricultural products announced on August 6, 2014, which impose an immediate year-long ban on some agricultural imports from the EU and other countries, will hit hard German agricultural exports. The Russian Federation is, after Switzerland, the most important agricultural export market for Germany outside of the European Union. In 2013, Germany exported agricultural and food products with a value of over US$ 2 billion to Russia. This compares to about 2.6% of the total German agricultural export value of US$ 82 billion. 

Russia banned "all imports of meat, fish, and fruit, vegetables, milk, and milk products" on August 6, 2014 and it is estimated that German exports worth over US$ 0.8 billion will be affected. However, the immediate influence of the latest Russian import ban on German pork and dairy exports is limited because previous Russian restrictions had already banned German pork exports in late January, 2014 due to outbreaks of African Swine Fever in East Europe. Exports of chilled and frozen pork to Russia were worth US$ 0.3 billion in 2013. That’s about 6% of total German pork exports. German exports of dairy products to Russia were halved in 2013 and again in the first four months of 2014. The German dairy industry sent products worth US$ 0.2 billion to Russia in 2013 which was close to 2% of total dairy exports. 

The sectors that will be hit hardest by the Russian ban are the fresh produce and food preparations industry. German companies that produce food preparations like yeast, seasonings, food concentrates, gluctose- and lactose syrups, and others are heavily dependent on the Russian market. In 2013, these companies exported products worth over US$ 0.2 billion to Russia, which compared to nearly 7% of their total exports. Some products in the horticultural sector are also heavily affected by the Russian ban. Germany sent apples worth US$ 9 million to Russia in 2013 which was nearly 9% of total apple exports. For German exports of dried fruit mixtures, Russia has been the third biggest market worldwide. German companies shipped dried fruit mixtures worth over US$ 5 million to Russia in 2013 (8% of total exports). 

Representatives of German agriculture are highly concerned about the Russian import bans of agricultural and food products. Both, the German Farmers Union (“Deutscher Bauernverband”) and the German Raiffeisen Association (Deutscher Raiffeisenverband) appealed to the German Government and the European Commission to continue their efforts to expand existing markets and open access to other interesting markets. This was supported by the German Minister for Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmitt. He underlined that, in case of clear market imbalances, actions will be discussed and initiated on European level for individual product groups. He announced that the situation will be discussed at the Weimar Triangle Meeting between Germany, France and Poland on September 2, 2014. It is also planned to hold a special meeting with the European Council of Ministers for Agriculture beginning of September. 

On August 18, 2014 the European Commission has announced emergency funding of US$ 170 million for fruit and vegetable growers hit by Russia's ban. The funding compensates for fresh produce which will not be sold. It will be distributed free to schools, hospitals and other institutions. 

Germany Agricultural Exports to RussiaAgricultural Imports banned on August 7, 2014 in million US$

Commodity20092010201120122013Share of total exports for that group in 2013
 Pork* 228.6 354.7 414.5 337.6 318.76,00%
 Milk and dairy products* 214.3 428.4 390.6 372.3 211.81,80%
 Food Preparations 183.2 148.0 167.2 188.4 211.3 6.7%
 Malt extract 21.7 23.3 28.3 31.7 38.2 5.8%
 Fruits and Nuts 21.1 31.6 37.0 30.5 24.5 1.4%
 Vegetables, edible roots and other tuber crops 7.9 29.0 45.5 21.4 11.9 0.9%
 Beef 19.7 82.7 76.0 32.7 7.9 0.6%
 Poultry Meat 66.2 65.8 26.1 12.4 2.9 0.2%
 Fish and crustaceous, mollusks, and other aquatic invertebrates 3.3 1.3 4.4 2.3 1.4 0.1%
 Sausages 1.4 1.9 2.2 2.2 0.9 0.1%
 Prepared Meat 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.0 >0,1%
 Total Agricultural Exports
 World 63168.9 65817.3 77857.6 76182.7 82028.2 
 Russia 1880.8 2368.0 2671.9 2393.2 2129.8 
 Share of Exports to Russia 3.0% 3.6% 3.4% 3.1% 2.6% 

*: Pork and dairy exports are already affected by other restrictions 

Source: Global Trade Atlas, FAS Berlin