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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ship Feud Hits Corn

WASHINGTON -- Although the U.S. Agriculture Department recently doubled the amount of corn Russia can buy with U.S. loans, a disagreement over how the grain is shipped is stalling sales, a USDA aide said Tuesday.

Under the $1 billion food aid package for Russia negotiated last year, the USDA required that three-quarters of the commodities exported to Russia be shipped aboard U.S.-flagged boats. But the Russians have requested corn not arrive on tankers, which U.S. officials are disputing.

"It's more difficult for them to handle the grain on the other end," said the official, who declined to be named.

But the USDA does not want to exclude tankers from hauling the corn to Russia, especially since that would limit the USDA's options for shipping such a large amount of corn, the official said. Until that issue is resolved, an invitation for bids for more corn sales to Russia will not be released, the source said.