Finally, Russia has imposed a temporary ban on poultry import from the USA. The ban is to come into effect on March 10. Granting of licenses for import has been already suspended. It means, “the Bush's legs”, that make up 50% of the Russian market will disappear from the market soon. But it is not ruled out that the things may change.
Russia has introduced a ban, as it got no explanations from the USA as for usage of chemicals in poultry processing. But official spokesmen for the US agricultural department say, it is not so. It is said in the press-release received by PRAVDA.Ru on March 1, a response to the Russian letter of inquiry has been sent by the USA on February 5 and a letter on 300 pages was attached. Besides, “on February 12, 2002 the US Embassy in Moscow got one more letter from the RF veterinary department of February 11, 2002 with fourteen questions as for usage of the chemicals and their parameters. The information about the chemicals was expected to be received till March 1, 2002. After consultations with the US qualification services and departments, the US agricultural department compiled a response to the inquiry and presented it to representatives of the RF Embassy in Washington on February 28, and a copy of the letter was sent the RF Agricultural Ministry by representatives of the US Embassy in Moscow early on March 1, 2002. Moreover, the agricultural department in the US Embassy in Moscow received additional questions to one of the items in the inquiry on February 28. Thus, the US Agricultural department has completed all requirements of the Russian Federation as for adequate presentation of important information.”
Reaction of US official spokesmen to Russia’s poultry import ban, was rather hard. US commercial representative Robert Zellick at the negotiations with US secretary for agriculture Ann Veneman said, Russia’s 20% ban on poultry import would cause damage to the Russian-American commercial relations, that are considered to be really important for the USA. The statement was circulated on March 1. The US officials have already summoned Russia’s Ambassador to the USA Yury Ushakov for the soonest recommencement of the poultry import from the USA. The officials are sure, there are no reasons to ban the US-exported poultry.
It seems as though a trade war may outbreak between Russia and the USA soon. Although Washington knows no reasons to ban the poultry import, they are evident. Russian mass media have already mentioned them, including PRAVDA.Ru as well (Russia may ban "Bush's legs"). The problem is not that US chicken is better or worse than the Russian one. The whole situation can be explained with the customs duties that the USA plans to impose on import of Russian steel. The Russian companies will suffer great losses as a result of it, and the country’s economy will be affected as well. But Washington is scarcely concerned about it. If it is so, why should Russia be concerned about US’s interests? If Washington wants to develop commercial relations with Russia, why does not it respect Russia’s economic interests at that?
Indeed, the seriousness of the USA in protection of the interests of its own producers deserves respect. But Russia’s position is to be respected as well. Everyone protects own interests the way one can. Is not it time to protect them without causing damage to other parties?
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/02/37768.html