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Monday, 4 March, 2002, 14:19 GMT
Chicken sparks US-Russia trade row
Market in Ekaterinburg, Russia
Poultry accounts for 20% of US exports to Russia
Russia has banned poultry imports from the United States, in what seems to be the beginning of a wider trade row.

Russia's agriculture ministry said it was not satisfied with Washington's answer to an inquiry about the use of disinfectants and stimulators in poultry processing.


We know of no reason whatsoever that would justify a ban on our products

US statement

The ministry said US importers had been repeatedly bringing in poultry meat without a proper licence, with incorrect package markings, or without safety certificates.

"We know of no reason whatsoever that would justify a ban on our products," US Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said in a joint statement.

"An unjustified ban on 20% of our overall exports to Russia would be extremely damaging."

Valuable market

Russia is a valuable market for the US, with 1.1 million tons of poultry worth $600m exported to the country last year alone.

Russian market
Russians buy more than a million tons of US poultry yearly

Russia, now in talks on possible membership of the World Trade Organisation, said recently it planned to restrict import by introducing higher tariffs and by setting quotas.

Washington expressed "strong concern" over the move and sent a group of experts to Moscow to stop what has been already dubbed a "chicken war".

Analysts said that Russia's ban is an attempt to retaliate pre-emptively to a possible US curb on import steel quotas.

If the quotas are to be introduced, Russia, one of the main suppliers for steel to the US, may lose up to $1.5bn over the next two years.

The decision on US steel quotas is expected by 6 March.

See also:

01 Mar 02 | Business
US steel workers stage mass protest
08 Feb 02 | Business
Russian juice firm wins US listing
18 Dec 01 | Americas
Analysis: US divisions over Russia
30 Mar 01 | Media reports
Russia facing meat crisis
04 Jun 01 | Sci/Tech
Fears over drugs in poultry
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