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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia: No More Poultry Concessions

Russia will make no more concessions to the United States in resolving a dispute over U.S. poultry imports, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Thursday.

"The negotiations process from our side is over. We are waiting for a reply from the American side and from Sept. 15 we will work in accordance with the new certificate," Gordeyev said.

Russia agreed last month to postpone from Aug. 1 to Sept. 15 adoption of a new tougher veterinary certificate -- a key document that guarantees product safety and permits imports.

Gordeyev's comments appeared to run counter to remarks by U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary J.B. Penn, who said Wednesday that talks with the Russians were continuing.

Russia, the main consumer of U.S. chicken and turkey, with 2001 imports at $640 million, in March imposed a monthlong ban on U.S. supplies, citing worries about the use of antibiotics and salmonella contamination.

The U.S. industry said the meat was safe, adding that Russia was aiming to protect domestic poultry producers. Profits at U.S. meat companies fell after the March ban as the domestic glut caused by it forced price cuts.

Moscow agreed to partially lift the ban from April 15. But it made the working out of a new veterinary certificate a condition for issuing permits for U.S. imports in August. The demand brought loading of U.S. shipments to a halt in July while Washington and Moscow negotiated new standards.

Penn told reporters on Wednesday he had a telephone conversation on Monday with Russian First Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergei Dankvert and planned another talk on either Thursday or Friday.

"We're still trying to resolve the last few differences," Penn said. Albert Davleyev, the head of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council office in Moscow, said five vessels carrying around 40,000 tons of U.S. poultry were currently on their way to Russia.

"The ships have been loaded after Aug. 1 and we expect their arrival in St. Petersburg between Aug. 30 and Sept. 7," Davleyev said.

"New shipments will depend on the fate of the certificate." He said Russia had imported 104,000 tons of U.S. poultry in the whole of August 2001.