TALLINN, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - The change of export direction for Estonia after Russia's embargo on agricultural products import from the European Union present a big problem for Estonian producers, the country's Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said Thursday.
"The effect on the Estonian agriculture does not have to be so strong that we would not be able to, at least, partially replace it with export in the European direction. But at the same time, there should be no illusions that sanctions would not have a serious effect on separate enterprises. Changing the direction of their export may become a bit problem for them," Rõivas said at a press-conference.
The prime minister said it was too early to speak about the effect the Russian ban could have on Estonia, but reminded that 24 percent of all Estonian exports to Russia are made of dairy, with meat and vegetables following closely.
He said politicians and experts had warned producers in Estonia about the possibility of an embargo from Russia, which should have prepared their enterprises.
On Thursday, Russia unveiled a list of banned agriculture products from the United States, European Union and other countries that imposed US-backed sanctions against Russia earlier.
The one-year ban targets the imports of beef, pork, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, nuts, as well as cheese and other dairy from the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway. The embargo does not include alcoholic beverages, infant foods and products.
At the height of the Ukrainian crisis, the United States imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russian officials, business people and companies and pressed for the allies in the West to follow its lead. The European Union, Canada, and Australia soon caved in to the US sanctions push and drew up their own blacklists.
Moscow said it is ready to review the terms of its import restrictions if Western partners show commitment to dialogue. The Kremlin has repeatedly called Western sanctions counterproductive and stressed that Russia was never involved in the Ukrainian conflict.