Source Pravda.Ru

Chicken, Schmicken: Bush’s Legs Not Welcome in Russia

Russian Minister of Agriculture Alexey Gordeyev thinks that America earns too much on Bush's Legs

To all appearances, the Russian-American chicken war is on again. This can be explained with two reasons. Either Russian inspectors visited the USA and decided that American steroid-injected chicken is by no means fit for the Russian people, as a matter of principle, or the Russian Ministry of Agriculture simply feels giddy because of its success. Russian Minister of Agriculture Alexey Gordeyev said at a press-conference yesterday that Russia would impose quotas on poultry imports. In his words, there is no other way.

The arguments the minister quoted at that were quite simple, and mostly had to deal with numbers. In Gordeyev’s words, Russia currently consumes 2.2 million tons of poultry per year, and 1.3 million tons are imported. The majority of the imported poultry, 1.15 million tons, is imported from the USA. This fact is not very agreeable for the Russian self-consciousness. On the other hand, if chicken meat wasn’t imported from the USA, Russia would import it from some other country, Zimbabwe for instance. Would it make any difference?

However, the Russian minister of agriculture was extremely offended by the fact that America earns 1 billion dollars per year by selling its rejected chicken to Russia. It is reasonable to suppose that if Russia stops importing American chicken, the USA will lose a lot of cash, which would be very pleasant for Russia. At the same time, this doesn’t mean at all that if America doesn’t get the money, it will go to Russian poultry farmers. One thing is for sure: if American chicken isn’t imported in Russia, chicken meat will become more expensive in the country, may be two or three times, which is certainly unfavorable for the Russian people.

As it turned out, Minister of Agriculture Alexey Gordeyev also has an exclusive opinion of its own concerning Russia’s poultry farming. In his words, the growth rate of domestic poultry farming currently makes up 10% per year; however, the growth rate of poultry imports exceeds domestic poultry farming by three times. “It is the moment of truth for the government. If the customs and fiscal budgetary policies are not changed, Russian production will fall,” the minister said. In his words, “this will result in the collapse of the Chicken industry, and much time will be required to revive it again.”

In fact, if Russian poultry breeders wanted (or better to say, had the opportunity) to win back the poultry market, there would be no American chicken (traditionally called “Bush’s legs”) in Russia at all. We should remember that the importation of products is not the mere importation of the products itself. It also means negotiations between Russian and foreign officials and producers and business trips abroad for Russian officials who are not sufficiently rich judging by the European standards. This means that the current situation is actually very profitable for Russian officials.

This is the reason why domestic poultry factories still cannot reach their planned production capacity. In fact, they won’t be able to meet capacity even if quotas are imposed on American chicken. It is very likely that, after the new battle in the “chicken war” is over, more negotiations will be held and, once again, “Bush’s legs” will return to the Russian market, only at a higher price this time.

Kira Poznakhirko PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://economics.pravda.ru/economics/2002/7/21/64/3897_BushLegs.html

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