- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

MOSCOW (AP) Russia said yesterday it wanted the right to inspect U.S. poultry plants, a demand that came as the two countries were in tense negotiations after Russia banned imports of American chicken.
The two countries were in talks Monday and yesterday over the Russian ban, which went into effect on Sunday.
Moscow says it was worried about sanitary conditions at U.S. plants and the use of antibiotics and feed additives.
U.S. officials said the ban was not justified scientifically and was simply protectionism.
Chicken is the top American export to Russia, bringing in $600 million to $700 million a year to producers in 38 U.S. states.
Russia is pushing at the talks for permission to send delegations to inspect U.S. plants that have shipped low-quality poultry to Russia or have failed to produce required delivery documents, the Interfax news agency quoted Mikhail Kravchuk, Russia's chief veterinary inspector, as saying.
Mr. Kravchuk did not name specific companies.
In the talks were agriculture and trade officials from both countries. Russia is also upset about U.S. sanctions on steel imports from Russia and other countries.
The trade disputes have aggravated relations in advance of a presidential summit scheduled to take place in May.
The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow, says the U.S. delegation will stay until a solution is reached. Russian officials criticize the rush.
Mr. Kravchuk said the meetings were "premature," since the Russian side had just received an 800-page response from the United States addressing Russian complaints that was still being translated, according to a statement yesterday from the Agriculture Ministry.
Based on the U.S. use of antibiotics in poultry production, Russia could introduce new "conditions" for poultry imports within 60 days, said First Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergei Dankvert, according to a ministry statement.
It was not clear whether the new rules would strengthen or ease the ban. Officials at the Agriculture Ministry would not elaborate.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell discussed the issue yesterday by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.
Some analysts and observers claimed that Russia's ban was a pre-emptive move to retaliate for U.S. duties on steel imports announced last week a charge Russian officials denied.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide