Now, the epic regarding US supplies of poultry to Russia can be regarded as completed. Since April 10, in a month after the official ban, US chicken legs will be again supplied to Russia. An agreement was reached Sunday, March 31. Now, the sides have only to work out the details of veterinary control. For these aims, a group of experts from the Russian Agriculture Ministry went to the United States. According to minister Alexei Gordeev, the final protocol will be signed within two months. At the same time, the minister said that Russia expects a more strict vet control of the quality of the products from the United States. One way or another, the conflict regarding poultry supplies to Russia seems to be settled.
Russian authorities stressed many times that the ban was not connected with steel import duty imposed by the US. However, the US seems not to have believed this. At least, US ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow said that the ban introduced by Russia was not connected with vet norms, but with protective duty. According to him, the dispute around chicken legs obviously damaged Russia-US economical relations and was the main problem in bilateral relations for the whole of March.
The US said many times that the ban on poultry imports could negatively influence prospects of Russia’s entry into World Trade Organization. Moreover, this conflict also caused the United States not to recognize Russia as a country with a market economy. However, in general, it was clear from the very outset that US authorities will resolutely defend their farmers’ interests. However, at the same time, some indulgences were rendered to Russian companies exporting steel to the US. This tactic soon brought its fruits.
However, Russia’s position could be also influenced for economical reasons. The question is that Russian factories can harldy replace the losses caused by the stoppage of poultry supplies in a short period of time. They would need years for it. Moreover, as a result, of the stoppage US poultry supplies, prices of chicken might seriously increase, which would seriously influence thepurchasing power of most of Russian citizens. Therefore, Russian authorities simply had no choice.
However, it is not clear for what aims this chicken campaign was organized at all. If this was the way to defend our steel producers, they have not achieved much. However, if the true problem was US poultry quality, should they really impart such broad publicity of this fact?
US chicken legs will not disappear from Russian grocery stores. The “trade war” between Russia and the US finished, having never started.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/04/02/39121.html