© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Federated Farmers say entering Russian market would be a risk after recent allegations

Connor Haley
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Police officers in bio-hazard suits at the scene of the poisoning in Salisbury. Supplied

Government talks with Russia have been suspended since 2014 and have not resumed in light of the nerve agent attack in England earlier this month.

Federated Farmers say they support the Government's decision to suspend talks over a free trade deal with Russia.

Vice-President Andrew Hoggard said they are currently looking at deals with Britain and the European Union so any theoretical deal with Russia could jeopardize those talks.

Hoggard said while they are always keen on all and any trade deals, it would be a risk to enter into the Russian market when they are "invading countries and throwing nerve agents around.  Generally, you want to enter into talks with countries that are fairly stable."

Trade with Russia has not been prominent for several decades but it was once big in the past.

In the 1980's New Zealand exported large amounts of butter and cheese to Russia but that eventually died off with the rise of the Asian market.

Hoggard said during that time Russia had a problem paying for the goods and would often barter by offering tanks and nuclear submarines as payment.

He added if the go-ahead was given for a fair trade agreement it would be hard for dairy companies to enter the market with the confidence that Russia could even afford to continually pay for exported goods.