Lincoln, Chambliss Question Russia's Commitment to WTO, Bilateral Agreements

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) say that Russia's continuing refusal to resume poultry trade with the United States not only demonstrates a lack of commitment to a bilateral agreement on the subject reached in June, but also "raises broader questions about a range of other bilateral issues between the United States and the Russian Federation."

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) say that Russia's continuing refusal to resume poultry trade with the United States not only demonstrates a lack of commitment to a bilateral agreement on the subject reached in June, but also "raises broader questions about a range of other bilateral issues between the United States and the Russian Federation."

In a strongly worded letter to Sergey Kislyak, Russia 's ambassador to the United States , the two urge the ambassador to communicate their concerns to his government and call for the resumption of U.S. poultry exports to the Russian Federation "without further delay."

They also say they believe that Russia 's actions to block imports of U.S. poultry are "inconsistent with the principles embodied in the World Trade Organization, which your country has endeavored to join for the last 17 years. In the absence of a quick and satisfactory resolution to this dispute, we would find it difficult to credit Russian willingness to adhere to those founding principles." The clear implication is that Lincoln and Chambliss might not agree to support Russia 's plan to join the WTO.

The two also note that 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 . Georgia and Arkansas are the No. 1 and No. 2 producers of broilers in the United States .

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