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Russia Institutes Restrictions on US Meat Products

11 December 2012

RUSSIA - Russia is to require any meat coming onto its market to be accompanied by a certificate issued by a government veterinary service indicating the products were "produced without the use of ractopamine".

Officials in Russia added a caveat to this statement, saying in absence of this official document, shipments of incoming meat can be admitted to the Russian market only after laboratory tests.

According to the American Meat Istitute, this system will operate during a transitional period but the terms of the system are to be determined later.

In a statement, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called on Russia to suspend its new testing requirements, saying: "The United States is very concerned that Russia has taken these actions, which appear to be inconsistent with its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization.

"The United States calls on Russia to suspend these new measures and restore market access for U.S. beef and pork products. The United States sought, and Russia committed as part of its WTO accession package, to ensure that it adhere rigorously to WTO requirements and that it would use international standards unless it had a risk assessment to justify use of a more stringent standard.

"Especially in light of its commitment to use international standards, this is an important opportunity for Russia to demonstrate that it takes its WTO commitments seriously."

US beef companies had shipped 121.7 million pounds of carcass weight equivalent product to Russia through September while U.S. pork processors had shipped 213.7 million pounds of carcass weight equivalent pork to Russia.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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