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Poland asks US to import apples banned by Russia

© AFP/File | Apples are transported on a production line at a fruit factory in Regnow, Poland, on April 26, 2014Apples are transported on a production line at a fruit factory in Regnow, Poland, on April 26, 2014

Poland has asked the United States to open its market quickly to Polish apples banned by Russia in a sanctions war over the crisis in Ukraine.

Poland's ambassador to Washington, Ryszard Schnepf, said he had met Michael Scuse, a senior official in the US Department of Agriculture, about the steps needed to open up the US market, the Polish press agency PAP reported.

"We are interested in a quick decision because the situation is extraordinary," Schnepf was quoted as saying.

"He told us to begin the procedure. We have a new meeting planned for August 18 with the heads of the agency that allows for the entry of agriculture products to the United States," he said.

"There is a greater understanding on account of the fact that the United States has also been hit by Russian sanctions," he added.

The United States severely restricts imports of fresh fruit and vegetables from the European Union, including EU member Poland, PAP said.

However, there are exceptions and Poland exports peppers and broccoli to the US market while Italy exports apples and pears, PAP said.

Poland is by far the leading exporter of apples in Europe, ahead of Italy and France.

Moscow announced on Thursday it was introducing an embargo on most food imports from Western countries that have imposed punishing sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea and alleged support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Imports of beef, pork, fruit and vegetable produce, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products from the European Union, United States, Australia, Canada and Norway have been immediately banned.