September 30, 2003



Russia Confirms Agreement With US On Meat, Poultry Imports

Russia and the U.S. have reached an agreement on parameters for the import of U.S. beef, pork and poultry to Russia, according to a press release by the Russian economic development and trade ministry issued Tuesday.


The agreement provides for a continuity of Russian import quotas and for a consultation mechanism to solve problems arising in the trade, the release said.


According to the press release, the agreement will ease the process of Russia joining the World Trade Organization.


Russia's Deputy Economic Development Minister Maxim Medvekov is quoted as saying the agreement would ensure stability for Russian farmers and investors in farming who "have been negatively affected by the increase of meat and poultry imports from third countries since the limitations on U.S. imports were introduced in the spring."


Russia is the largest foreign market for U.S. poultry, traditionally valued at about $700 million a year.


A Russian agriculture ministry official, commenting on the agreement in Moscow Tuesday, said the deal would mean no cuts in U.S. meat imports to Russia despite restrictions introduced earlier this year.


He said a poultry import quota, enacted on May 1, was introduced in order to stimulate domestic production. The official said figures show that domestic beef, pork and poultry sales had increased this year compared with last year.


However, the agriculture ministry official said the figures increased because farmers carried out slaughtering on a large scale after the import restrictions were introduced and not as a result of an increased cattle and poultry numbers.
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