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US intends to negotiate with Russia over ban on US pork, beef supplies

December 08, 2012, 5:22 UTC+3

According to the US business quarters, they will seek for the Russian agricultural watchdog to cancel its decision

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WASHINGTON, December 8 (Itar-Tass) — The US Administration intends to have negotiations with the Russian government in order to settle the current disagreements over the supplies to Russia of US pork and beef, which contain the traces of the feed additive ractopamine. Assistant to the US President and Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman and Chief Agricultural Negotiator Isi Siddiqui will pursue this aim during their visit to Moscow next week.

According to the US business quarters, they will seek for the Russian agricultural watchdog to cancel its decision, which made the meat exports from the United States impossible on the Russian market. On Friday, the Russian veterinarian authorities demanded that the imported meat products should have the certificates, which verify no content of ractopamine, which is applied in the US and Canada. The US Meat Export Federation warned the domestic food companies that the meat supplies in Russia can be suspended already on December 8.

The US experts noted that the Food Code permits the content of ractopamine in pork and beef within permissible limits. Ractopamine is used in the raising of cattle to make their meat less fatty. However, several countries, including Russia and China, find this feed additive harmful and imposed a ban on the imports of meat products, which has the traces of ractopamine. Meanwhile, the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture did not take any laboratory tests, and subsequently does not issue any certificates to the companies over the content or no content of ractopamine in their products. Apparently these tests and the issue of certificates will take some time.

Russia is ranked sixth in the US pork and beef imports in the world that reaches half a billion dollars every year. Now the US delivers to the Russian market 0.6% of all beef and 1.4% of all pork produced in the country. According to the US Meat Export Federation, for the first nine months of this year the volume of the US beef supplies to Russia reached 203.7 million dollars and the US pork supplies – 202.9 million dollars. Over 200 containers with these meat products to the tune of about 20 million dollars are being delivered from the US to Russia.

The ban on beef and pork supplies on the Russian market can be detrimental to US farmers and major companies.

Meanwhile, independent experts believe that Moscow decided to impose a ban on the US meat supplies in retaliation to fact that the US Congress approved the Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions against the violators of human rights in Russia.

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