"Exports from Belgium [to Russia] were at 5 billion euros [almost $5.5 billion], with losses calculated at roughly half-a-billion euros. The total impact of the [Russian food ban] on our exports was at 5.49 percent in missed trade flows," Daniel Coulonval said at a press conference at the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.
He stressed the impact of mutual restrictions on different branches of agriculture was patchy, with the milk industry suffering the biggest losses.
Coulonval added that agricultural exporters from other EU nations had redirected Russia-bound flows to Belgium causing its prices to crash. "We see no exit from this dead-end," he concluded.
In 2014, the European Union and its allies imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia for its alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict. Russia denied this allegation. It responded in August 2014 with a ban on food imports from the countries that sanctioned it. Last July, the embargo was prolonged for a year.