Crimean exports to EU plunge in April - ministry

Exports to the European Union accounted for 10.2 percent of the total foreign sales of Crimea in the first quarter of 2014, the Crimean Ministry of Economics said on Friday, two days after the EU imposed a ban on all imports from Crimea unapproved by the Ukrainian government.

Exports to the European Union accounted for 10.2 percent of the total foreign sales of Crimea in the first quarter of 2014, the Crimean Ministry of Economics said on Friday, two days after the EU imposed a ban on all imports from Crimea unapproved by the Ukrainian government.

Crimea's total exports for the first quarter were worth $57.2 million, a volume where the EU's share was $5.9 million. April's exports to the EU were a mere $72,000, the ministry said in a statement published by Crimea's Information Ministry.

"Exports to EU countries mainly consist of products of the engineering and chemical industries and agriculture," the statement said.

Germany was the number-one importer of Crimean goods - 4.5 percent of Crimea's total exports before Crimean sales to the EU plummeted. Hungary was the second largest recipient, being the destination of 2.1 percent of Crimea's total exports.

"After the ban on imports into EU countries, Crimean enterprises have an opportunity to redirect their products to the domestic market and to markets in the Middle East, China, India, Turkey, Azerbaijan, etc., where there is demand for Crimean products," the statement said.

Russia remains the chief market for Crimea's engineering and wine industries and agriculture while its chemical goods are in demand not only in the EU but also in Asia, the Economics Ministry said.

On Tuesday, EU foreign ministers approved a ban on all imports into EU countries of Crimean goods without the go-ahead from Kiev. The ban took effect on Wednesday.

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