International tensions have shone a light on the trading relationships many countries have with Russia.
While the focus is often on Russian oil and gas exports, this vast and mostly rural country is also a significant exporter of food products.
In fact, despite international sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russia remains in the top 20 global agricultural exporters.
But what food does the UK import from Russia and how has this been impacted by sanctions and tariffs?
UK imports from Russia
Following the invasion of Ukraine, the government imposed a swingeing 35 per cent tariff on Russia food exports to the UK.
According to the Government, this was designed to “inflict maximum damage on the Russian economy while minimising the impact on the UK”.
While Russian food imports have never been critical to the UK’s food supply, they have been an increasing part of the UK food and drink mix since the end of the Soviet Union.
In that time, many UK food importers had established trading relationships with Russian suppliers which have been impacted significantly by the war in Ukraine.
What food does the UK import from Russia?
Historically, the UK has imported a range of food products from Russia.
While these have been dominated by cereals, grain, animal and vegetable fats, as well as animal foodstuffs, it has also included products like vodka and caviar. While these products are still available to UK consumers, the tariffs that have been imposed have raised their price considerably.
Whitefish has also historically been a significant food import from Russia, but these imports collapsed by 99 per cent following the imposition of UK government tariffs.
The future of Russia food exports to the UK
The market for Russian goods in the UK and across much of Europe has collapsed following the imposition of large tariffs.
As a result, Russian food exporters have looked for markets elsewhere, not least in neighbouring countries such as Kazakhstan.
Russia remains a significant exporter of grain globally, particularly to markets in Africa and the developing world.
Disruptions to the supply of Russian and Ukrainian grain have had a significant impact on overall global supply, pushing up prices and making it harder for people in poorer economies to access.
What the situation with Russia food exports to the UK illustrates is the changing nature of international trade, not only in relation to food and drink.
If you are looking to import or export goods to and from the UK you must understand the legal and tariff implications as they currently stand.
Your food import and export partner
SSO International Forwarding can help your business navigate the changing requirements of food imports and exports.
We are a trusted partner for UK food import and export businesses, working with a growing number of businesses of different sizes to help them expand into new markets
We make it possible for you to import and export food products with ease.