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US Demand to Ease Meat Barriers "unfair": Russia

Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev has called US demands to ease meat import barriers "unfair". He said that Russia would continue to boost its own meat output to end dependence on foreign countries.

Gordeyev told state television that Russia has already offered the United States "very large concessions and preferences" on poultry imports, compared with other nations.

"I am surprised by the position of the US, demanding more and more concessions from Russia, creating preferences for themselves,'' Gordeyev said. "I think it's unfair."

Russia has threatened to tighten import barriers on US meat unless an agreement was reached by October on Russia's World Trade Organisation membership bid.

Russia currently imports 45 percent of its poultry needs, down from 70 percent four years ago.

"The government isn't going to act blindly and close poultry imports; that is not our goal," Gordeyev said.

Russia is seeking to ensure its food security by boosting poultry production, Gordeyev said. Output has been growing at about 15 percent over the past four years, he said, and is expected to increase by 180,000 tons this year and 220,000 next year.

Russia's goal is to meet at least 80 percent of its own poultry demands. "Another three or four years and the problem will be solved," Gordeyev said. "Then we won't have to ask ourselves each time what will happen if some country doesn't deliver us meat."

Editor WorldPoultry

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