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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Hopes Poultry Ban Ends in Days

U.S. negotiators hope to get Russia to lift a ban on imports of U.S. poultry by the end of the week, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said Wednesday, putting an end to the latest hitch in the two nations' relations.

"Our goal is to get this poultry ban lifted by the end of the week," a spokesman from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said on condition of anonymity. He characterized the meetings so far as "productive."

U.S. and Russian negotiators working out technical details to lift the ban met all day Wednesday at the Agriculture Ministry and more meetings are planned over the next two days, the spokesman said.

Russia's ban on poultry -- the top U.S. export here, worth an estimated $600 million to $700 million per year -- went into effect Sunday over what Russian officials said were concerns about sanitary conditions and the use of antibiotics. U.S. officials say the measure is unjustified and protectionist.

Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Tuesday that veterinary inspectors here would have to be given more control over U.S. poultry in order for the ban to be lifted.

The ban came just as the United States was introducing tariffs on steel, a major Russian export. Both issues have aggravated relations ahead of a May summit in Russia between Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush.