"Trade with Russia last year decreased by 43%. This is a serious drop. There has not been such a serious drop planned with any other country," the minister said. "There is a number of reasons. The aggression on their part, their tough foreign policy, not only with respect to Ukraine. And also the decrease in the Russian economy as such. The fall to $60 per barrel [of oil] is minus $200 billion for the Russian economy in a year. That is, the Russian economy is not as big as it was before. And our manufacturers, and manufacturers of other countries do not have the opportunities in the Russian market, which they previously had."
In addition, Abromavičius noted that for several years in a row Russia has been an unpredictable partner. "A lot of Russia's trading partners quickly realized that there was and there will be unpredictability and unfriendliness, and due to this fact they redirected their flows to other countries," the Minister said.
He also stressed that the Ministry of Economic Development is ready to do whatever is necessary to help domestic producers to shift to new markets.
"I would be lying if I said it was easy to switch to another market. The transition is not always as fast as we would like it to be. But how can the ministry help businesses? [It can] promptly assist in the certification of products, the transition to European standards; there is a monetary, technical and educational part in this."