Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 48

Nearly a week after battle was joined, a potentially explosive trade dispute between Russia and the United States over the export of American poultry parts was resolved. The impasse was broken March 5 when the United States received assurances from Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin that Russia’s threatened March 16 ban on U.S. poultry products would not be implemented. The message from Chernomyrdin was relayed to U.S. vice president Al Gore through Russian minister of economics Yevgeny Yasin, who was in Washington for meetings with U.S. officials. Although an actual agreement has apparently not been reached, a statement released by Gore’s office said that he had accepted an invitation to send a team of negotiators to Moscow to work out the details. Chernomyrdin and Gore also spoke to each other about the issue by telephone yesterday, after which Chernomyrdin told Russian news agencies that Russia was still demanding improvements in the quality of U.S. poultry imports.

The apparent resolution of the dispute suggested that Moscow was not willing to risk a broader trade war with the U.S. over $550 million in annual imports of chickens, despite the upcoming presidential election and the agricultural lobby’s attempt to frame the ban as a defense of domestic chicken farmers. Acting Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha, who had denounced the U.S. imports, was criticized yesterday by Russian first deputy prime minister Oleg Soskovets for "destabilizing markets with ill-considered announcements" about the ban. (4)

Russia Warned That Import Tariffs Could Kill IMF Loan.