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U.S. and Russia Near Agreement on Poultry

July 15, 2002|Reuters

The United States and Russia are nearing a deal on resolving a poultry trade dispute, with negotiations possibly concluding as early as this week, a U.S. government official with knowledge of the matter said.

Russia has imposed an Aug. 1 deadline for new safety certification standards for imports of U.S. poultry. Shipments from the United States were halted last week because Moscow and Washington had not reached agreement on details for the safety certificates and there was no guarantee that U.S. product could reach Russia before Aug. 1.

The official cautioned that there have been disappointments in the past in getting Russia to reopen its market to U.S. chicken and turkey.

Russia has been a large buyer of U.S. poultry, purchasing $640 million worth of mostly inexpensive dark meat in 2001. Russia banned U.S. poultry for a month this year, citing concerns over the safety of the U.S. meat.

The U.S. industry repeatedly has criticized Russia, saying it simply was trying to protect its domestic poultry producers. In recent weeks, U.S. industry officials have withheld comment at the request of the U.S. government, according to sources.

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