Senators urge Russia to honor trade agreement on U.S. poultry
By Jon H. Harsch
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
Washington, Aug. 31 – Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and 29 other senators sent a letter to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak Tuesday urging Russia to honor its previous commitment to allow U.S. poultry exports access to Russian markets. Following a bilateral meeting in June, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced an agreement to reopen Russian markets to U.S. poultry products. Since then, the process seems to have stalled.
Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack predicted Tuesday that despite unexpected delays “we are going to see shipments very, very soon.” He explained that “there are approximately 26 facilities that we would like Russia to be able to do business with. They've basically given us the sign-off on about half of those facilities. The other half we are working through a process that will open up opportunities in the very near future, so I'm convinced that this market is going to be pretty robust.”
Klobuchar commented that “The June agreement to reopen Russian markets to U.S. poultry exports was a welcome development, and now Russia has an obligation to honor this commitment. U.S. poultry products have been denied access to Russia for too long, and we will continue to push the Russian government until these unwarranted trade barriers are removed.”
Prior to the meeting between President Obama and President Medvedev, Klobuchar and 24 other senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to address the Russian trade barriers facing U.S. poultry products.
Over the last three years, U.S. poultry exports to Russia averaged more than $800 million in value, making Russia the single-largest U.S. export market. The poultry industry represents over 500,000 jobs in the United States.
Full text of the latest letter is below.
August 30, 2010
Dear Ambassador Kislyak,
As members from poultry-producing states throughout the United States, we are writing to express our deep concern with respect to Russia’s failure to honor its recent commitment to allow U.S. poultry products back into Russia.
It was our understanding that President Obama and President Medvedev came to an agreement in June of this year to allow U.S. poultry imports into Russia. However, Russia has failed to implement the agreement.
Russia is a valuable trading partner to the poultry producers in our states. These actions are a set back to our countries’ trade relations.
We ask you to honor the commitment our two presidents made less than two months ago and implement the agreement without further delay.
We thank you for your attention to this important matter that affects, not just our constituents, but the citizens of Russia as well.
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