Apr 16 2002
GEORGETOWN, DE - Senator Tom Carper confirmed the termination of a Russian ban on U.S. poultry Monday and warned against future action by the country. Upon lifting the ban, Russian agriculture officials have signaled that they will demand imported chickens meet stricter standards. The embargo posed a real threat to poultry farmers in the Delmarva Peninsula who depend on the industry for their livelihood. "The speed with which this ban was lifted was encouraging. The promise of "new, stricter" rules may be cause for concern. The Russians may just be giving their ban a new name," Carper said. "I'm not willing to declare victory until I see these new rules and evaluate how they affect Delaware's poultry." Russia leads the world in chicken imports, bringing between $600 million and $700 million a year to American poultry farmers. Although sanitary conditions were cited, the month long ban was put in place as the United States was imposing sanctions on Russia and other foreign steel exporters. At the onset, Delaware's Congressional delegation teamed up to fight the poultry ban, writing letters and advocating with foreign counterparts. In letters to the American Embassy in Moscow, the U.S. trade representative to Russia and the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Carper wrote, "This embargo has no scientific or veterinary basis, and it will cause extreme hardship."