Russia Retailers Brace for Ban on Turkish Goods After Downed Jet

  • Country's 9-month imports from Turkey reached $3.1 billion
  • Russia imported Turkish fruits, vegetables after EU goods ban

Russian retailers are preparing to rearrange their supply chains for the second time for as many years as they brace for a potential ban on Turkish goods as retaliation for the downing of a warplane over Syria.

The government will draft retaliatory measures for Turkey’s "aggression" within two days, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a cabinet meeting in Moscow on Thursday. Measures are likely to include restrictions or bans for Turkish goods, according to the premier, who ordered his ministers to compile proposals for retaliatory measures by Saturday. The Agriculture Ministry on Thursday ordered tougher checks on Turkish imports.

"If needed, our grocery chain will make all the necessary efforts to change suppliers in a timely manner," Russian retailer Dixy Group PJSC said in e-mailed comments.

Russia’s retailers have had to contend with collapsing consumer demand as falling oil prices and international sanctions plunged the economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter into its worst recession in six years. They already had to revamp their purchasing last year, when President Vladimir Putin banned the import of a range of food products from the European Union in retaliation for the restrictive measures introduced by the trading bloc over the conflict in Ukraine.

The Micex stock index fell 1.3 percent to 1,805.12 as of 5:28 p.m. in Moscow, heading toward its lowest in a week.

Russia imported $3.1 billion of goods from Turkey in the first nine months, according to Federal Customs Statistics. Turkey accounts for about a quarter of the fruit and vegetables supply to Russia in the winter season after the ban on EU products, according to Metro AG.

Metro Cash and Carry has the flexibility to change suppliers if a new ban is introduced, country head Boris Minialai told reporters Wednesday. It already met the challenge last year to replace a lot of European suppliers within a short time period, he said.

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