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US Poultry Industry Not Worried over Ukrainian Crisis

26 March 2014

US - Tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine are not particularly worrisome for the president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).

James H. Sumner of the Snellville-based council said he believes the ongoing crisis should not hurt US exports to that part of the world, reports the Gainesville Times.

Ukraine is not currently a major market, and the US is one of the few available suppliers to Russia, he said.

Ukraine’s “poultry production has increased significantly over recent years and they are looking at exporting their poultry production into Europe, especially since now Ukraine’s future exports to Russia are in question,” Mr Sumner said.

Russia, meanwhile, likely will reduce “imports from the Ukraine.”

He said: "A greater concern could be the exchange rate between the dollar and the Russian ruble that has “recently fluctuated.

“Of course, it’s impossible to know what could happen in the future,” he said of the crisis.

Poultry is big business in Georgia, especially Hall County and Northeast Georgia.

In a 2011 report, some 23,000 people either work directly in the industry or have jobs that benefit poultry in the 9th Congressional District, which includes Hall, according to the US Poultry & Egg Association.

The economic impact was estimated at $5.7 billion.

Poultry production is also increasing in Russia.

Georgia broiler exports to Russia have dropped to 43,697 metric tons in 2013 from 133,027 tons in 2008, according to USA Poultry & Egg Export Council data. The state’s broiler exports to Ukraine have dropped to 1,011 metric tons in 2013 from 26,844 tons in 2008.

But that has not caused a problem for US exports, “as (the) product has found a home in other countries,” USAPEEC spokesman Toby Moore said.

Meanwhile, relations between the US and Russia have intensified in recent weeks, especially as the Crimean Peninsula, formerly of Ukraine, has been annexed into Russia.

And with no sign of Russia abandoning the region, Gainsville Times adds that President Barack Obama has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin the international community is prepared to impose punishing sanctions against his country’s economy.

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