Russia is considering a boycott for the Dutch ornamentals, the Russian news agency Interfax reports. The threat is mentioned just after the Dutch call to set up an international tribunal that will investigate the reason for the MH17 crash. Russia is against such a tribunal because a couple of ongoing investigations need to be finished first.
The official reason for the ban is the presence of quarantined organisms in shipments from the Netherlands. This is a threat for the Russian economy and the agriculture.
According to the chairman of the LTO Nederland, Nico van Ruiten, the charge is not well-founded. “Of course there is always a possibility that ‘something’ is coming with a shipment,” says van Ruiten this morning on the Dutch Radio BNR, “however, the flowers and plants are being cultivated very cleanly and the measurements are strict in the Netherlands. It is possible that biological crop protection products are seen as a threat, but this is very unlikely. There might be some political reasons behind this threat, but I am not sure, just like anyone else.”
The interview with Nico van Ruiten can be listened to at BNR (in Dutch)
A possible boycott can affect the export heavily. Annually, 200 million flowers and plants are being exported to Russia. At the same time the export to Russia decreased over the last years. In the first half of the year, the export was 35% lower compared to the year before, reports VGB, and Russia as an outlet fell from fourth to eight place.
Also Colombia would be affected by this possible boycott. This is because a lot of flowers from Colombia go to Russia via the Netherlands. This was mentioned in a conversation between the head of the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Sergie Dankvert and the Ambassador of Colombia, Chiron Jaime Duarte. Dankvert also said that the probability that the ban will be imposed is high.
Not first time
It is not the first time that Russia has threatened such a boycott. In June, just after Putin announced the extension of the existing boycott, some assumed that the flowers would be added to that list. However, these assumptions were not founded. Also this time, according to the VGB the ban is not confirmed by any Russian authority yet.