Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Deal could reopen Russia's markets to U.S. beef

Four years ago, the appearance of a case of mad cow disease in the United States prompted Russia to ban U.S. beef. In the time since then, Russians now have a taste for more expensive cuts of meat, and a new deal could reopen that market to U.S. beef, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Sparked by rising oil revenue, Russia's economy now allows for the purchase of more than one million metric tons of beef in 2007, a sharp jump from the 640,000 tons bought in 2001, reports Bill Tomson. Restrictions have made trade with Russia difficult, but the new deal could change that. Without U.S. imports, Russia has not been able to meet demand.

"The new agreement that U.S. and Russian negotiators have been working on for months is said to be compliant with international guidelines laid out by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE," Tomson writes. "In May, the OIE granted the U.S. a favorable "controlled risk" rating for the way it protects cattle and the human food supply from BSE, a disease that can be transmitted to humans through consumption of tainted meat." (Read more; subscription site)

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