U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Thursday applauded the announcement that Russia will lift its ban on U.S. poultry imports. On Monday, Lincoln, Chambliss, Klobuchar, and 22 other Senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to discuss Russian trade barriers on U.S. poultry imports during his meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. In a joint press conference today following the meeting, Obama and Medvedev announced that an agreement had been reached and the ban will be lifted.
"I want to thank President Obama for addressing the concerns I raised to him in my letter and I am very pleased that the issues that have kept U.S. poultry exports out of the Russian market since the first of the year were resolved. The Russian market is worth $100 million annually to Arkansas producers and this decision will help preserve the 89,000 poultry jobs that are critical to Arkansas's economy," Lincoln said. "I thank President Obama, U.S. Trade Representative Kirk and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack for their tireless efforts on this issue and hope that the details of this agreement can be quickly implemented so that U.S. poultry shipments to Russia can resume as soon as possible."
Over the last three years, U.S. poultry exports to Russia averaged more than $800 million in value, making Russia the single largest U.S. export market. The poultry industry represents over 500,000 jobs in the United States. The lengthy absence of this critical market in Russia has generated an overall 14% decline in the volume of U.S.