Russians Optimistic over End to Trade Dispute with US

RUSSIA - US officials are to visit Moscow for talks on 17 January to discuss future poultry exports to Russia. A top official, Mr Onishchenko, is optimistic about compromises being reached over chlorine treatment and the water content of frozen poultry meat.
calendar icon 4 January 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

A US delegation will arrive in Moscow this month for discussions on poultry imports from the United States after Russia tightened its regulations, Russia's chief sanitary official said on Sunday.

RAI Novosti reports that Russia introduced a law on 1 January, which strictly limiting the amount of chlorine that can be used in the processing of poultry, effectively banning all imports from the United States.

The head of consumer watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, Gennady Onishchenko, said on Ekho Moskvy radio that the US delegation would arrive on 17 January.

Mr Onishchenko said: "At approximately 19:30 on December 31, I concluded a telephone conversation with. James Miller, deputy agriculture secretary of the United States. We agreed that the US delegation will arrive here on January 17, and we will resolve this problem."

The new requirements, which apply to both imports and meat processed in Russia, state that the amount of chlorine in the solution used for the processing of poultry meat should not exceed the level set for drinking water, 0.3-0.5 milligrams per litre.

They also require that the fluid that separates when defrosting the meat should not exceed four per cent of the total weight of the bird.

Experts say the new regulations first and foremost affect imports from the United States, where chlorine has been used as the primary anti-microbial treatment for a quarter of a century.

Citing Reuters, RAI Novosti reports that Russia is US poultry producers' top export market, worth $801 million in 2008.

According to Reuters, Mr Onishchenko said he hoped a compromise would be found at the talks in Moscow.

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