Russia has issues with new US poultry deal
Russia has raised "further issues" with a trade agreement that was supposed to have restarted U.S. poultry exports to that country after a six-month ban, U.S. chicken industry sources said on Tuesday.
Industry and government sources did not specify the issues raised. The matter has reached Washington where U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he was "concerned" and monitoring the situation. A USDA spokesperson later said the department was working with the United States Trade Representative "to ensure the terms of the agreement are fulfilled."
Russia had been the largest U.S. export market for chicken until it banned the meat in January, claiming a chlorine disinfectant used on the meat violated its food safety policy. A deal to restart shipments was reached in June between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. As part of that deal, U.S. chicken companies agreed to use non-chlorine treatments on chicken bound for Russia.
"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," the National Chicken Council said in a statement on Tuesday. "It is not going as smoothly as we would like," Toby Moore, spokesman for the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, said when asked about the latest issues with Russia. "It is in both government's hands."
The deal came after a series of talks between U.S. technical officials and Rospotrebnadzor, Russia's consumer watchdog. The USDA began posting plants approved to ship to Russia in late July, including plants owned by top producers Tyson Foods Inc, Pilgrim's Pride Corp, and Sanderson Farms Inc.
Pilgrim's Pride sold out its entire August volume from Russian-approved plants, its chief executive said last week.
But the Russian news agency Interfax has reported there are now more technical issues, quoting an official at Rosselkhoznadzor, the country's veterinary inspection agency.
"Resolving the problems has been complicated by a number of technical issues, and they've proven not so simple," the agency quoted Nikolai Vlasov, deputy chief of the Rosselkhoznadzor, as saying.
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