In this brief, we report the results of a quantitative assessment of the consequences of counter-sanctions introduced by the Russian government in 2014 – Russian food embargo. We consider several affected commodity groups: meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. Applying a partial equilibrium analysis to the data from several sources, including Rosstat, Euromonitor, UN Comtrade, industry reviews etc. as of 2018, we obtain that consumers’ total loss amounts to 445 bn Rub, or 3000 Rub per year for each Russian citizen. This is equivalent to a 4.8% increase in food expenditure for those who are close to the poverty line. Out of this amount, 84% is distributed towards producer gains, 3% to importers, while the deadweight loss amounts to 13%. Based on industry dynamics, we identify industries where import substitution policies led to positive developments, industries where these policies failed and group of industries where partial success of import substitution was very costly for consumers.
The full text of the underlying paper is forthcoming in the Journal of the New Economic Association in October 2019.
In August 2014, in response to sectoral sanctions against Russia, the national government issued resolution No. 778, which prohibited import of processed and raw agricultural products from the United States, the EU, Ukraine and a number of other countries (Norway, Canada, Australia, etc.). The goal was to limit market access for countries, which supported sectoral sanctions. The other rhetoric of the counter-sanctions was to support domestic producers via trade restrictions, or by other words – import substitution.
This brief provides an update of welfare analysis of counter-sanctions based on partial equilibrium model of domestic market. The initial estimations based on 2016 data can be found in another FREE Policy Brief here. This time we compare the consumption, outputs and prices of the counter sanctioned goods as of 2018 relative to 2013. The estimated consumer surplus changes, producer gains and prices are reported in Table 1.
Table 1. Welfare effects of counter-sanctions in 2018 relative to 2013.
Data sources: Rosstat, Euromonitor, UN COMTRADE
* Negative losses correspond to gains
** Negative gains correspond to losses
Green color was used to mark the commodity groups with a noticeable consumption growth in 2013-2018 and red color those with consumption decrease.
Effect on production
From the point of view of price dynamics, on the one hand, and consumption and output, on the other, the studied products can be divided into three groups.
The first group which we call “Success of import substitution” includes goods for which real prices (in 2013 level) increased by 2016 but afterwards, the growing domestic production ensured that by 2018 prices fell below the level of 2013 with a corresponding increase in consumption. This group includes tomatoes, pork, poultry and, with some reservation, beef. For beef, growing domestic production pushed prices down after 2016, but the level of consumption and prices have not yet reached the pre-sanction level.
For the second group, import substitution has not resulted in a price decrease, we call this group “Failure of import substitution”. For products in this group, the initial increase in prices by 2016 was not reverted afterwards. Their consumption decreased significantly compared to 2013, and domestic production either continued to fall after 2016, or its growth turned out to be fragile. This group includes apples, cheese, fish, as well as condensed milk and processed meat.
We call the third group “Very expensive import substitution”. It includes fromage, sour milk, milk and (to a lesser extent) butter. This group is characterized by increase in consumption and output in the period 2016–2018, but real prices over this period still remain very high.
Effect on consumers
By comparing the losses and gains of consumers in different categories of goods due to changes in real prices and real consumption, our analysis provides the following monetary equivalents. For all considered counter-sanctioned product groups, with the exception of poultry, pork and tomatoes, consumer losses are around 520 billion rubles per year (in 2013 prices). In three product groups (poultry, pork, tomatoes), in which there was a decrease in prices and a significant increase in consumption, the consumer gains are equivalent to 75 billion rubles per year. Thus, the total negative effect from counter-sanctions for the consumers amounted to 445 billion rubles a year, or about 3000 rubles for a person per year.
Given the cost of the minimum food basket, defined in Russia as 50% of the subsistence level, the impact of counter-sanctions on the budgets of Russian consumers can be estimated as follows. 3000 rubles account for approximately 4.8% of the annual cost of the minimum food basket. The minimum food basket is a set of food products necessary to maintain human health and ensure its vital functions that is established by law. In other words, one can say that 3000 rubles a year are equivalent to a 4.8% increase in food expenditure for those who are close to the poverty line.
Consumer surplus losses were significantly redistributed in favor of domestic production, totaling 374 billion, or 2500 rubles per year per person. Another 56 billion rubles (or 390 rubles per person) correspond to the deadweight loss, i.e., reflect the inefficiency increase of the Russian economy, and 16 billion rubles (110 rubles per person) is the equivalent of redistribution in favor of foreign producers, who get access to Russian market with higher priced products than before counter-sanctions.
Effect on foreign partners
As a result of the selective embargo, the geography of Russian imports of the affected goods has changed. Traditional suppliers of these goods, primarily from Europe, were replaced by suppliers from other countries due to trade diversion. Given the changes in the composition of importers after the imposition of sanctions, we single out countries that have lost and countries that have gained access to the Russian market. We use the change in trade volumes from the respective countries as indicators of growth and decrease in share of these importers in the Russian market. Below we consider in detail the three groups of goods with the largest gains for importers in 2018 compared with 2013: cheese, apples, butter.
Cheese imports decreased significantly after the imposition of counter-sanctions, in 2018 accounting for only 42% of their dollar value in 2013. The total gain of importers due to the growth of domestic prices in 2013-2018 amounted to 17.3 billion rubles (Table 1) and was distributed among following importing countries: Belarus (78%), Argentina (6%), Switzerland (4%), Uruguay (3%), Chile (3%), other countries (6%). Countries that lost their shares of the Russian cheese market included Ukraine, Holland, Germany, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, France, Denmark, Italy and Estonia. As mentioned earlier, domestic production and Belarusian imports were not able to fully compensate for imports from countries on the counter-sanctions list, and in 2016-2018 cheese consumption in Russia decreased significantly.
Apple imports after the initial drop in 2016 partially recovered in 2018, amounting to 66% of their dollar volume in 2013. The total gain of importers in 2018 compared to 2013 amounted to 15.0 billion rubles (Table 1); it was distributed between Serbia (22%), Moldova (19%), China (13%), Turkey (10%), Iran (10%), Azerbaijan (7%), South Africa (4%), Chile (3%), Brazil (3%) and other countries (9%). Poland suffered the most from the ban on apple imports; it accounted for about 80% of all losses. Other losers from counter-sanctions include Italy, Belgium and France. The reorientation of trade flows did not completely replace Polish imports, so apple consumption in 2016-2018 was significantly lower than in 2013.
Imports of butter in 2018 was also below the level of 2013 (67% of dollar value). The gain of importers in 2018 compared to 2013 amounted to 11.2 billion rubles and was distributed among the following trading partners: Belarus (90%), Kazakhstan (4%), Kyrgyzstan (3%) and other countries (3%). Among the countries bearing most of the negative burden of the diversion of trade, one should mention Finland and Australia.
Five year after counter-sanctions were put in place Russian consumers continue paying for them out of their pockets. While few industries have demonstrated a positive effect of import substitution policies, most are not effective enough to revert the price dynamics.
- Kuznetsova, Polina; and Natalya Volchkova, 2019. “How Much Do Counter-Sanctions Cost: Welfare Analysis”, Journal of New Economic Association, N3(43), pp 173-183. (in Russian)
In this brief we provide a quantitative assessment of the consequences of countersanctions introduced by the Russian government in 2014 in response to sectoral restrictive measures initiated by a number of developed countries. Commodity groups that fell under countersanctions included meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. By applying a basic partial equilibrium analysis to data from several sources, including Rosstat, Euromonitor, UN Comtrade, industry reviews etc., we obtain that total consumers’ loss due to countersanctions amounts to 288 bn Rub or 2000 rubles per year for each Russian citizen. Producers capture 63% of this amount, importers 26%, while deadweight loss amounts to 10%. 30% of the transfer from Russian consumers toward importers was acquired by Belarus. The gain of Belarusian importers of cheese is especially impressive – 83% of total importer’s gains on the cheese market.
In August 2014, in response to sectoral sanctions initiated by some countries against Russia, the national government issued resolution No. 778, which prohibited import of processed and raw agricultural products from the United States, the EU, Ukraine and a number of other countries (Norway, Canada, Australia, etc.).
Russian countersanctions were, in particular, imposed on meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. Later the list of counter sanctioned goods was edited: inputs for the production of baby food and medicines have been deleted from the ban list, while new items were added. Salt was added to the list in November 2016 and animal fats in October 2017.
The popular idea behind the countersanctions was to limit market access for countries, which supported sectoral sanctions. The other rhetoric of the countersanctions was to support domestic producers via trade restrictions, or by other words – import substitution.
We apply a basic partial equilibrium analysis in order to evaluate the effect of countersanctions on the welfare of main stakeholders – consumers, producers and importers. The overall results are in line with general microeconomic consequences of trade restrictions in a small open economy, that is, we observe a decline in consumer surplus, increase in producer surplus and redistribution across importers. Perhaps, even more interestingly, we are able to provide a numerical assessment of redistribution effects between Russian consumers and producers, on the one hand, and among importers from different countries, on the other.
Partial equilibrium welfare analysis
We apply a framework of the classical analysis of import tariff increases to Russian countersanctions. Countersanctions resulted in increased domestic prices, declining consumption and increased domestic production. Given the increase in prices and declined volumes of consumption, we evaluate the losses by consumers as a decline in consumer surplus. Respectively, given the increase in prices and increase in domestic output we identify the producers gains as an increase in producer surplus. The only difference with a classical analysis is the lack of increase in government revenues. In this case increases in domestic prices were driven by restrictions on trade with historical partners which were substituted by more costly producers. Given the changes in the composition of importers after sanctions, we identify countries which lost and gained access to the Russian market. We use changes in volumes of trade as a measure of respective gains and losses. Figure 1 presents all relevant concepts.
In order to measure all relevant welfare changes, we rely on consumption, production and price data from Rosstat and Euromonitor, trade data from the UN Comtrade database. We use data for 2013 as a benchmark before countersanctions and compare it to 2016. The measures of own price elasticities of Russian demand and supply were taken from the literature. We use real price (in terms of 2013 prices) and volume information for consumption and supply in 2016 as the resulting points on the supply (point C) and demand (point A) curves as shown on Figure 1. Then we restore the consumption and production points on these curves (points F and B) as they would have been in 2013 given the own price elasticities of demand and supply and price level as of 2013.
Figure 1. Visualization of deadweight losses, consumer and producer surplus changes
We consider 12 commodity groups that were included in 2014 in the countersanctions list: pork, cheese, poultry, apples, beef, tomatoes, processed meat, fromage frais, butter, oranges, condensed milk, grapes, cream, sour milk products, milk, and bananas.
Prices and volumes information are taken from Rosstat official statistics, which in a few cases were adjusted by data from Euromonitor. Import values were obtained from the UN Comtrade database. The summary of the original data and results of welfare analyses are reported in table 1. Below we discuss in details the situation in three markets – beef, apples and cheese.
Table 1. Summary table of the welfare effects of countersanctions
|Group||Price (RUR per kg, 2013)||Production (thous. tons)||Consumption (thous. tons)||Elasticity||Consumer losses, RUR mn||Producer surplus, RUR mn||Deadweight loss, RUR mn||Importer gains, RUR mn|
Data sources: Rosstat, Euromonitor, UN COMTRADE
Bold figures were used to mark the commodity groups with a noticeable consumption growth in 2013-2016, italic figures – for those with consumption decrease, and underlined – for groups where consumption changed insignificantly during the period.
The Russian beef market experienced a drastic decrease in consumption during two years under countersanctions. In 2013 constant prices, the average real of 1 kg of beef increased by 5.3% from 357 Rub/kg in 2013 up to 376 Rub/kg in 2016. Domestic output decreased by 0.8% and to 238 thousand tons in 2016 from 240 in 2013. Domestic consumption decreased by 33.1% to 600 thousand tons in 2016 from 897 in 2013. Our estimations indicate that consumer losses amount to 11.3 bn Rub or 3.5% of beef consumption in 2013; producers’ gains are 4.4 bn Rub or 1.4%; deadweight losses are estimated at 0.2 bn Rub or 0.07%; and importers’ gains equal 6.7 bn Rub or 2.1%.
Out of total 6.7 bn Rub of importers’ gains, importers from Belarus acquire the major share (88%) – 5.9 bn Rub. Importers of beef from India and Colombia gained 0.4 bn Rub (6% of total) and 0.3 bn Rub (5%) respectively. Beef importers from Mongolia gained 0.03 bn Rub, from Kazakhstan – 0.01 bn Rub. Importers of beef from Brazil, Paraguay, Australia, Uruguay, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, and Argentina lost market shares in over the period 2013-2016.
Average real price for 1 kg of cheese increased by 26.5% up to 358 Rub/kg in 2016 from 283 Rub/kg in 2013, both in constant 2013 prices. Domestic output increased by 39.1% to 605 thousand tons in 2016 from 435 thous. tons in 2013. Domestic consumption decreased by 2.1% to 748 thous. tons in 2016 from 764 thous. tons in 2013. Our results indicate the following effects of countersanctions on cheese market: consumers’ losses amounted to 63.5 bn Rub or 29.4% of cheese consumption in 2013; producer’s gain is 44.3 bn Rub or 20.5%; deadweight loss is estimated at 8.4 bn Rub or 3.9%; importers’ gains equal 10.8 bn Rub or 5.0%.
Out of a total 10.8 bn Rub of importer’s gains on the cheese market, importers of cheese from Belarus acquired the major share (82.9%) – 9.0 bln Rub, importers of cheese from Argentina gained 0.5 bn Rub (4.8% of total importers’ gain), importers from Uruguay gained 0.4 bn Rub (3.9%), Swiss cheese importers gained 0.2 bn Rub, importers from Armenia – 0.2 bn Rub (1.8%). While importers of cheese from Ukraine, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, France, Denmark, Italy, and Estonia lost market access over 2013-2016.
In 2013 constant prices, average real price for 1 kg of apples increased by 20.0% up to 84 Rub/kg in 2016 from 70 Rub/kg in 2013. Domestic output increased by 3.5% to 324 thous. tons in 2016 from 313 thous. tons in 2013. Domestic consumption decreased by 40.8% to 986 thous. tons in 2016 from 1665 thous. tons in 2013. According to our analysis, the effects of countersanctions on the apple market are the following: consumers’ losses amounted to 15.2 bn Rub or 13.1 of apple consumption in 2013; producer’s gain is 4.6 bn Rub or 3.0%; deadweight loss is estimated at 1.2 bn Rub or 1.1%; importers’ gains equal 9.4 bln Rub or 8.1%.
Out of a total 9.4 bn Rub of importer’s gains, importers from Serbia acquired the major share (49.7%) – 4,7 bn Rub, importers of apples from China gained 1.6 bn Rub (16.7% of total importers’ gains), those importing from Macedonia gained 0.8 bn Rub (8.4%), from Azerbaijan 0.6 bn Rub (6.0%), and from South Africa 0.4 bn Rub (4.5% of total importers’ gains). While importers of apples from Poland, Italy, Belgium, and France lost market access.
Overall effects for 12 commodity groups
We calculated the welfare effects for 12 commodity groups: beef, poultry, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, ton butter, dairy products, apples, bananas, oranges, grapes and tomatoes.
Total consumers’ loss due to countersanctions amounts to 288 bn Rub, producers gain 63% out of this amount (182 bn Rub), 26% of total consumers’ loss is redistributed to importers (75 bn Rub), deadweight losses amount to 10% (31 bn Rub).
Distribution of importers’ gains
Belarus is the major beneficiary of Russians countersanctions: its exporters gain 29.4 bn Rub (38%), Ecuador’s exporters are in the second place with 16.4 bln Rub (21). Exporters from Serbia gained 5.1 bn Rub (7%).
There is no doubt that countersanctions were paid out of the pockets of Russian consumers: our estimation of total consumer losses amounts to 288 billion rubles, i.e. each Russian citizen paid 2000 rubles per year. Out of this sum, Russian producers received 144 billion rubles, i.e. transfer from Russian consumers to producers equals 1260 rubles per person per year. Among Russian sectors, major gains and associated increases in production happened in pork industries (50%), poultry (20%), dairy products (10-30%), fruit and vegetables (10-50%).
The transfer from Russian consumers toward importers from non-sanctioned countries equals 75 billion rubles a year (520 rubles per person per year), out of which 30% was acquired by Belarusian importers. Countersanctions lead to deadweight losses in the efficiency of Russian economy equal to 31 billion rubles or 215 rubles per person per year.
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