WASHINGTON – The Russian government was pressed by U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) to honor their commitment to reopen its markets to U.S. poultry imports in a joint letter sent to Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak.

“Russia’s refusal to resume poultry trade with the United States demonstrates a serious lack of commitment to the agreement reached by the two countries in June,” Lincoln said. “By creating an arbitrary trade barrier, Russia continues to hamper progress in U.S.-Russian relations. As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I intend to make sure the Russian government lives up to their commitment to resume fair and open U.S. poultry imports.”

“The action on the part of the Russians does not benefit them in the eyes of a lot of policymakers who are trying to make up their minds relative to other questions,” Chambliss said. “If we can’t work out a deal on chickens and expect them to keep their word, how can we trust them on issues of nuclear weapon facilities?”

U.S. Poultry exports were barred from entering the Russian Federation on Jan. 1, 2010, because of concern about the use of chlorinated water in pathogen reduction treatments in American poultry processing plants. U.S. poultry processors agreed to forego the use of chlorine, prompting an announced agreement to resume exports to Russia.