Russia Likely to Cut Pork and Poultry Import Quotas

MOSCOW - Russia could cut poultry and pork import quotas by hundreds of thousands of tons, according to the country's agriculture minister.
calendar icon 28 August 2008
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The move could hit American producers hard and comes amid heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over the war in ex-Soviet Georgia.

"It is time to change the quota regime and reduce imports, which have unfortunately built up in recent years," Alexei Gordeyev told reporters.

The Houston Chronicle reports that he said domestic producers could make up the shortfall if imports were reduced.

Any substantial cuts would likely have a significant impact on U.S. poultry producers, for whom Russia is the biggest market. Russians sometimes refer to U.S. poultry imports as "Bush's legs," a reference to the frozen chicken shipped to Russia amid economic troubles after the 1991 Soviet collapse, when the current U.S. president's father was in office.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin backed proposals to freeze some of the agreements, particularly in agriculture, relating to its efforts to join the 153-member World Trade Organization. Officials claim Moscow agreed to certain conditions with member countries in return for help in fast-tracking Russia's entry.

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