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07 August 2014

Russia Sanctions Australia

Wishin' and Hopin'

On top of today's unflattering jobs report comes the news that amongst other Countries, Russia is sanctioning imports from Australia.

Bilateral relationship
Contact between Australia and Russia began in 1807, when the Russian naval vessel Neva arrived in Sydney. Consular relations began in 1857 and diplomatic relations in 1942. Australia has had an Embassy in Moscow since 1943 and has Consulates in Vladivostok and St Petersburg. The Russian Federation has an Embassy in Canberra, a Consulate-General in Sydney and Consulates in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne. Approximately 74,000 Australians claim Russian ancestry, according to the 2011 Census.

Australia and Russia engage in a number of important international and multilateral fora, including those involved with non-proliferation issues and regional security. Australia and Russia concluded a bilateral Double Taxation Agreement in September 2000, which came into effect in 2004. In 2010, Australia and Russia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation. Russian students are also eligible to apply for Endeavour Award scholarships under the Australia Awards.

President Putin became the first Russian leader to visit Australia when he attended APEC Leaders' Week in September 2007. During Putin's visit, Australia and Russia signed an Agreement on Cooperation in the Use of Nuclear Energy, which entered into force in November 2010.

In September 2013, Foreign Minister Bob Carr visited Moscow, where he met Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in St Petersburg to represent the Prime Minister at the G20 Summit. In April 2013, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visited Moscow in her then role as Deputy Leader of the Opposition. She met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, other Russian ministers, parliamentarians, senior officials, and business leaders. Prime Minister Julia Gillard attended the APEC Summit in Vladivostok in September 2012. In January 2012, Minister Lavrov visited Sydney, and signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Antarctic Cooperation.

Bilateral economic and trade relationship

Two-way merchandise trade between Australia and Russia was worth A$1.794 billion in 2013. Russia is Australia's 31st largest merchandise trading partner. Australian merchandise exports to Russia in 2013 were worth A$736 million and imports from Russia totaled A$1.057 billion. Australian exports to Russia in 2013 included meat (particularly beef), butter, and live animals. Crude petroleum dominated Australian imports from Russia in the same period, which also included fertilisers, and goods vehicles.

Australia's services exports to Russia in 2013 were valued at A$165 million and imports of services from Russia were valued at A$101 million. Services exports were largely in personal travel and education-related travel.

This sanctioning of Australia, is, quite obviously in response to Mr. Abbott calling Mr. Putin a murderer, and Julie Bishop's diatribe on MH17.

It will be a good day when both of them learn to engage their brains before putting their mouths into gear