US shipments to Russia may resume shortly

31-05-2010 | | |
US shipments to Russia may resume shortly

The US may be able to start shipping poultry in a month, a spokesman for Russia’s veterinary watchdog said, calling the breakthrough a reward for Moscow’s hard line in its negotiations with Washington.

“It will depend on the desire of the US suppliers to resume exports of poultry to Russia as soon as possible,” Alexei Alexeyenko, a spokesman for the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control, told The Moscow Times.

“I expect this to happen by the end of June,” said Alexeyenko, adding that Russia maintained a tough stance in its negotiations with the US.

“First, the US side didn’t even want to hear about banning chlorine for the poultry exported to Russia, and they continued to tell us that the US safety rules allowing it were very trustworthy,” he said. “We kept explaining that this country has its own laws, and importers are obliged to obey.”

Washington offered a choice of 22 chemicals that they could use in place of chlorine to disinfect the poultry, but many of them also were prohibited in Russia, he said.

“Finally we reached a compromise by agreeing on the chemicals that satisfy both sides. Under the new rules, importers will be obliged to indicate which substance was used in a separate document in addition to the veterinary certificate,” he said.

Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service, said that a tentative agreement was reached to resume supplies, without elaborating on the terms. The Agriculture Ministry and the USDA still need to exchange formal letters outlining the terms of the agreement, he said.

Imports were frozen at the beginning of the year after regulations went into effect that forbid the import of poultry treated with chlorine, which is used by many US producers. The Federal Consumer Protection Service signed the measure in June 2008, but the rules’ start date was later pushed to January 1, 2010.

Analysts say that US poultry producers — who supplied 750,000 mt in 2009, or 20% of the market — are unlikely to regain their former market share.

Source: The Moscow Times

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Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist