Talks with USA on Conditions for Chicken Imports Prolonged until August 1

Talks with the USA on conditions for chicken supplies imported into Russia have been prolonged until August 1. This was announced on Tuesday at a press conference in Moscow by Russian Agricultural Minister Alexei Gordeyev. He said that two months were spent on forming an agreement on the new quality certificate, but that things had not been concluded within that time, so the consultations will continue for another month.

The import of fowl from the USA, if it is to continue, will be carried out according to new regulations and under strict concordance with Russian legislation and sanitary-hygiene requirements, said the minister. 'American supplier-firms should be aware of these demands and fulfil them', he said.

Gordeyev said foreign imports account for 30% of food sold on the Russian market. The situation is at its worst, according to the minister, in large cities and industrial centres such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, where imports account for up to 70%.

Grain harvest in 2002 is predicted by the ministry of agriculture to remain at last year's level - 70-73 million tonnes. 'This is enough to satisfy domestic demands and retain a certain amount of export potential, so we will not need to import grain', said the minister.

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