Russia to restrict meat imports

Russia's Agriculture Ministry said it planned to restrict meat imports in 2003, dealing a potentially serious blow to Europe's largest livestock export market and the United States, a major poultry supplier.

Vasily Shapochkin, a department head at the Ministry, said it had proposed raising import tariffs and setting import quotas on beef, poultry and chicken. Shapochkin said the measures aimed to protect domestic producers against "massive imports of meat products at dumping prices" and should be applied to all countries equally.

The European Commission was skeptical about Moscow's threat, saying it remained to be seen whether Russia's talk of limiting meat imports would transform into action, the Russia Journal reported.

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