The government of Argentina said Monday that it will expand exports to Russia by taking advantage of "the opportunity" created by Vladimir Putin's ban on importing food and raw materials from the United States and the European Union in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Moscow by Washington and Brussels.

"Russia has a significant need for food products and the Argentine Republic can supply them," cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich said during his regular press conference.

Argentina "will create the conditions so the private sector, with the backing of the government, can increase exports and satisfy the demand of the Russian market," he said.

The relevant government ministries will establish "mechanisms to allow specific trade missions to take advantage of the opportunities created by this additional market opening," the cabinet chief said.

The Russian government decreed last week a ban on imports of raw materials and food products from the United States and the European Union, and Russia's foreign ministry told South American ambassadors in Moscow that it is willing to import products from their countries that are banned from other countries.

Argentina and Russia presented themselves as "strategic allies" last month during Vladimir Putin's visit to Buenos Aires, during which he and Argentinian President Cristina Fernández signed several accords boosting trade and cooperation.

Bilateral trade grew last year by 30 percent to $2.63 billion, according to a report published by the Argentinian-Russian Chamber of Commerce.

In 2013, Argentina chiefly exported fresh fruit, meat, milk products, grape juice and alcoholic beverages to Russia, while importing nuclear reactors, vehicles, pharmaceutical and technological products, the report said.

The United States and the E.U. imposed sanctions on Russia in response to the annexation of Crimea and Moscow's alleged support for ethnic-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.

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