Sask. manufacturers want help to ease Russian trade sanctions sting
REGINA – The Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council wants the federal government to consider special support for Canadian exporters affected by Russian trade sanctions.
Executive director Derek Lothian says Russia is a key customer.
He says the council would like Ottawa to create an emergency fund to offer short-term relief for agricultural processors, producers and related manufacturers that will be hurt by the sanctions.
Lothian says the federal government should also communicate closely with Canadian companies that export to Russia.
He says Russia is strategically important as a stand-alone market and as a gateway to other countries in Eastern Europe.
Lothian warns the sanctions on food products will have a ripple effect on related industries and could result in a loss of Canadian jobs.
“We are known around the world as probably the best supplier of agricultural equipment,” Lothian said Friday. “If there is no money to purchase that equipment in foreign or domestic markets, that equals jobs and investment here at home.”
Russia announced a year-long ban on food imports from Canada, the United States and other countries Thursday in response to sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine.
The measures are aimed at meat, milk and dairy products, fruit and vegetables and fish from Canada, the U.S., the European Union, Australia and Norway.
Canada’s agricultural exports to Russia amounted to $563 million in 2012, mostly in frozen pork, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
The council represents about 40 companies in Saskatchewan.
© The Canadian Press, 2014