Russia threatens us poultry imports over WTO accession
In a blatant power play, Russia's Minister of Economic
Development informed the US Trade Representative that unless US agreed to
the Russia's membership to the WTO by the October meeting in Geneva, the
Agreement of June 2005 on Tariff Rate Quotas would be set aside. By
In a blatant power play, German Graf, The Minister of Economic
Development of the Russian Federation bluntly informed the US Trade
Representative Amb. Susan Schwab on August 8th that unless US acquiescence to the
Protocol for entry of Russia to the WTO is received by the time of the late
October meeting in Geneva, the Agreement of June 2005 on Tariff Rate Quotas
would be set aside.
Quotas were summarily introduced by Russia in 2003, allegedly to support
domestic production. The USA now stands to lose an assigned 75% of Russian
poultry imports. During the first half of 2006 The Russian Federation imported
356,000 m tons of broiler legs valued at $185 million, representing a unit price
of $519/ m ton. The quantity and total value for the first two quarters of 2006
were respectively 5.7% greater and 22.6% less than for the corresponding period
in 2005. The unit price for broiler parts declined by 30% between 2005 and 2006.
For the first half of 2006 the Russian Republic represented 28% of total US
export volume of 1,240,000 m tons.
It is the contention of the US that entry of Russia to the WTO is
contingent on resolution of outstanding problems relating to bilateral trade and
intellectual property and independent on trade in meat and poultry. The US has
adopted the position that reneging on the Tariff Rate Quota Agreement will
complicate the finalization of bipartite negotiations between the Nations.
The Minister of Agriculture, Alexey Gordeyev expressed the opinion that the
domestic industry could expand to compensate for any shortfall in supply of
imported chicken. This is a highly speculative and politically acceptable but
wildly optimistic assertion, given the current capacity of production and
recurrent outbreaks of disease including AI which has yet to be controlled.
Before other exporters including Brazil indulge in schadenfreude over the US-Russia impasse they should
recognize the principle of caveat vendor. Russia has proven to be an unreliable
purchaser of meat and poultry. Agreements are regularly shredded and
pseudo-science and red tape are invoked to impede shipments as it suits
bureaucrats and their supporters.
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