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California Raspberries Hit Most by Russia Sanctions, AmCham Says

Californian raspberries and cherries are the U.S. foodstuffs most affected by Russia’s counter-sanctions, according to Alexis Rodzianko, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.

“The counter-measures most affect the European states who were most vociferous in demanding sanctions,” Rodzianko said by phone in Moscow. “I am afraid I can no longer buy Californian raspberries and cherries, which I would see occasionally and compare to the cheaper fruit from Turkey.”

Russia slapped one-year import bans on an array of food from the U.S., the European Union, Norway, Canada and Australia, including dairy products, fish, beef, pork, fruit and vegetables. The curbs target countries that sanctioned or supported punitive steps against Russia amid a standoff over Ukraine, where the U.S. and its allies accuse President Vladimir Putin of backing insurgents in the country’s east after he annexed the Crimean peninsula in March.

Rodzianko, a former banker at Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse Group AG who also worked as an interpreter at disarmament talks in the late 1970s, became head of the chamber in November. He decided in May to move the group’s annual July 4 celebration outside downtown Moscow because of growing tensions with the U.S. over Ukraine.

AmCham members companies active in Russia -- ranging from McDonald’s Corp. to Citigroup Inc. -- have been largely unaffected by the sanctions and Russia’s counter-measures so far, according to Rodzianko.

Exxon Mobil Corp., which started drilling a $700 million well in the Arctic with OAO Rosneft on August 9, may see its plans affected in the longer term, he said.

“The contracts for this project were signed before the latest round of sanctions,” Rodzianko said. “Their future plans may be affected, as well those involved in oilfield services, as there is quite a big group of companies involved in supporting this.”

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