January 25, 2013
Russia may suspend beef and pork imports from US, Canada
Russia may temporarily suspend some US and Canadian beef and pork imports from February 4, due to concerns of ractopamine usage in the products.
Russia's Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service said that both countries were still sending chilled meat products to Russia that violated its import rules which require such proteins be free of residues from the feed additive, ractopamine.
Russia's potential ban could jeopardise the more than $500 million a year in exports of US beef and pork to Russia. It also comes amid mounting trade tensions between the two countries: The US Senate last year approved a bill to expand bilateral trade - legislation that also sought to punish Russian human rights violators.
The Russian veterinary group "is especially concerned about the import of chilled meat products to Russia," the service said. Adding to their stated concerns: Such chilled pork and beef product was showing up in the Russian marketplace before the laboratory test results for ractopamine had come back, Rosselkhoznadzor added.
A spokeswoman for the US Trade Representative's office said the agency was "concerned" about Russia's actions.
"The U.S. is committed to ensuring that the meat we export to consumers around the world is safe and wholesome. We continue to call on Russia to suspend these unjustified measures and restore market access for US beef and pork products," said USTR's Andrea Mead.