New twist in U.S. chicken exports to Russia deal

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – Just as the celebration was beginning by the U.S. poultry industry as it scrambled to re-enter the lucrative Russian market after a six-month ban by Russians who claimed a chlorine disinfectant used on chicken violated its food-safety policy, Russia has raised "further issues" with the updated trade agreement, according to Reuters.

Although expert sources did not identify these issues, this latest twist in Russian chicken exports has U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack "concerned" and monitoring the situation. The agency is working with the U.S. Trade Representative "to ensure the terms of the agreement are fulfilled," a U.S.D.A. spokesperson said.

“The United States and the Russian Federation have an agreement on the poultry trade that was announced by President Obama and President Medvedev and subsequently signed by the responsible officials in both countries,” Richard L. Lobb, director of communications for the National Chicken Council (N.C.C.), told MEATPOULTRY.com in an e-mail. “The Russians are now raising further issues about the provisions of the agreement. We hope these matters can be resolved speedily and are awaiting further clarification from the U.S. government.”

“We’re hopeful any remaining poultry trade issues with Russia will be quickly resolved, but would rather not speculate about what such a resolution would involve,” Tyson Foods spokesman Gary Mickelson told MEATPOULTRY.com. “We have not yet shipped any poultry to our Russian customers but hope to do so very soon.”

Up until it banned U.S. chicken imports in January, Russia was the largest U.S. export market for chicken. In June, an agreement was reached to restart shipments between President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. U.S. chicken companies agreed to use non-chlorine treatments on chicken being exported to Russia as a part of that agreement.
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