Beyrle Slams Poultry Protectionists

Russian protectionists are to blame for recent curbs on U.S. poultry imports, U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle told Interfax in an interview published Tuesday.

"I remember [former U.S. Secretary of State] Colin Powell once said it is better to argue about chicken legs than about nuclear missiles. But nonetheless, it does seem periodically that the issue of meat and chicken imports from the U.S. tends to come up at a time when protectionist circles in Russia are feeling stronger," Beyrle said.

Russia, the biggest market for U.S. poultry, banned imports from 19 U.S. producers in September on health and safety grounds.

"American beef and chicken is safe, it undergoes very rigorous inspections that have been agreed as part of the process with Russia," said Beyrle.