U.S. poultry producers say Russia ban won't have major impact

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2014 -Russia's ban on U.S. poultry imports will not have a major impact on the U.S. industry, according to the National Chicken Council and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council.

“The biggest impact, we believe, will be on Russian citizens who will be burdened by higher prices for all food products, especially meat and poultry. The price of poultry in Russia is already rising and has recently been increasing at a rate of 2 percent to 3 percent per week” the two groups said in a statement.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin last week ordered restrictions on imports of agricultural products from the U.S. and the European Union for imposing economic sanctions on Russia as a result of Russian incursions in Ukraine.

The U.S. poultry producers pointed out that Russia is the second-leading market for U.S. chicken, in terms of volume, purchasing 267,000 metric tons valued at $303 million in 2013. Still, that represented only about 7 percent of total U.S. poultry export volume. In the mid-1990s, before the expansion of Russia's poultry industry, exports to Russia were as much as 40 percent of that total, the councils said.

“Our industry believes that free and fair trade - particularly with food - should never be used as a political bargaining chip,” the councils said in their statement. “We look forward to working with the U.S. government to resolve this issue and resume normal trade relations with Russia as soon as possible.”

A decree signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev bans imports of beef, pork, poultry meat, fish, cheese, milk, vegetables and fruit from Australia, Canada, the EU, the US and Norway. The bans will last for a year, until Aug. 7, 2015, the RIA Novosti news service said.

Medvedev said Russia has been forced to respond to the sanctions imposed by the western countries, measure that he called a “dead-end track.”

Alcohol imports from both the EU and the US will not be restricted.

The prime minister said that Moscow still has a lot of trading partners abroad, which it had not placed on the retaliatory sanctions list. Russia's agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has announced plans to increase imports from Chile, which could include vegetables, fruit, fish, shellfish, meat and milk.

In 2013, Russia imported $6.7 billion of meat and meat products in total. The largest shipments came from now-banned countries like Denmark (6.6 percent of total Russian meat products), Germany (6.4 percent), USA (5.3 percent), and Canada (3.8 percent).

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