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United States, Russian Agreement On Trade Important Step, Trade Groups Said

Monday, September 29, 2003

Washington, D.C. – America’s beef industry got a boost when President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ground-breaking agreement on meat trade.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), and the American Meat Institute (AMI) applaud the move, which will provide potentially lucrative new export market opportunities for American producers and establish an important foundation on which future working relationships can be built.

"The tariff rate quotas established under this agreement not only allow U.S. beef producers to serve this valuable international market today, but to grow the market in the future," says Eric Davis, NCBA president and cattle producer from Bruno, Idaho. "For cattle producers, Russia can provide a fine market for U.S. beef products, and we commend the efforts of USTR Ambassador Robert Zoellick, Chief Agriculture Negotiator Allen Johnson and the negotiating teams from both countries."

"We are encouraged by this agreement," says Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. "It provides the working framework with which to develop the practices and protocol needed for a long-term relationship. Particularly important to us is that certain high-quality meats recognized under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) so-called ‘Hilton’ definition are exempted from the quota system. Russia provides considerable growth potential and the U.S. will have a key role in meeting this growth." USMEF currently has offices in St. Petersburg and Moscow working with the Russian trade.

"One of the fastest growing markets in the world is the Russian market for beef variety meats," says AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. "Especially significant is the fact that these products are permanently exempted from the tariff rate quota."

This agreement sets the stage for Russia to become a full and active member in the WTO. NCBA, USMEF and AMI agree that integrating Russia into a rules-based global trading environment will be key to advancing this trading relationship.

For more information contact:
Dan Murphy
Vice President, Public Affairs
Josee Meehan
Senior Manager, Public Affairs

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