Senate Leaders Upset Over Russian Restrictions

By: Adrianne Crow, Staff Member

At the beginning of the year, the Russian government announced that it was imposing new restrictions on poultry imports. Rossella Brevetti, Senate Agriculture Leaders Blast Russian Meat Restrictions, Association of Brazilian Beef Exporters, Jan. 19, 2010, http://www.ab
}. Despite the fact that poultry processed with chlorine rinses has been found to be perfectly safe worldwide, Russia has decided that it will no longer accept poultry that has been processed using this technique. Id. Because most of the poultry plants in the United States employ this technique, Russia's ban effectively closes its market to the United States. Id.

In response to this action, the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee recently wrote to President Obama requesting that his administration work to open access to the Russian market for American producers. Id. The senators claim that Russia's "attempts to manage the flow or imports raises questions regarding Russia's willingness and readiness to become a member of the World Trade Organization." Id.

In addition to restrictions on poultry, there is also some indication that Russia may begin to impose more stringent restrictions on U.S. beef as well. Id. Speculations suggest that Russia would only allow imports of U.S. products that have been inspected according to Russian standards, a restriction that would have a significant impact on U.S. exports of pork, poultry and beef. Id. Due to the economic difficulties that many livestock and poultry producers are currently facing, U.S. senators are very concerned about the effect that the loss of the Russian market could have on this industry and worried that these new restrictions could make a struggling industry even worse off.