Ukraine invasion sever decades of Western Australia-Russia trade relationship

But doing business with that country became increasingly difficult as Vladimir Putin’s Russian government pushed its political ambitions. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to further deteriorate all remaining economic ties.

Washington’s iconic apple harvest offers a vivid example of this international trade roller coaster.

Until a few years ago, Russian consumers paid more for large Washington state apples.

It was great for growers who were struggling to sell such large apples in the United States, said Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, which represents the Northwest fruit industry on public policy issues, such as trade.

“Our Washington State apples and pears were considered a premium brand, and there was a lot of good demand for the product we were growing,” Powers said. “If you think about volume, [Russia] would be considered a small market – but that doesn’t give him credit for the value of that market.

According to data compiled by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington State exported more than $12.7 million worth of apples and $10.3 million worth of pears to Russia in 2013.

But Washington State apples shipped to Russia dwindled in 2014. That year, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

Following the annexation, the United States responded with targeted sanctions, including on assets belonging to Putin’s inner circle. But Russia retaliated with far more sweeping sanctions, including bans on many American agricultural products, such as the large Washington apples that their citizens had enjoyed. Since 2015, not a single Washington apple has been sold within Russian borders.

Along with the economic sanctions that the United States imposed on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, many private companies cut ties with Russian companies or suspended operations in the country on their own, said said Derek Norberg. He heads the Council on American-Russian Relations in Seattle, which has worked to strengthen ties between the two countries, including through efforts involving economic growth and community betterment.

Aerospace maker Boeing, for example, will no longer buy titanium from Russia, has suspended operations in Moscow and will no longer provide parts, maintenance and technical support services to Russian airlines, according to a report. company statement.

“I just don’t see a lot of opportunity or willingness on either side to have a business relationship at this point,” Norberg said. “The US government is implementing sanctions. Even if they don’t prohibit commercial activities, I think the administration’s apparent desire is that American companies, even if not specifically prohibited by sanctions, choose not to do business with the Russia.