A senior officer at the US Meat Export Federation has called Russia’s ongoing closure to the majority of US pork ‘ as damaging as a full market closure’ – and that the reopening of the trade is considered ‘top priority’.
Over the past 14 months, Russia has been effectively closing its doors to US pork by delisting nearly 30 processing plants.
Paul Clayton, USMEF senior vice president for export services, said in an interview: “The few plants we do have available are not very large plants and have not been really accessing that market to a great extent.”
NPPC and NPB
Clayton added that the USMEF is working with pork industry organisations, like the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Pork Board (NPB) and several agencies of the US government to restore access to Russia for US pork, and that the issue is considered a top priority by all parties involved.
“We’re pushing very hard on our federal government to keep this as a top line item,” he added.
Clayton said creative solutions are being sought that will allow US processors back into the market.
“We may have to end up going plant-by-plant, but our goal would be to get them to agree to what our procedures are going to be, how USDA will verify those procedures and agree to open up to all of our plants that are under the programme.”
Through October 2009, US pork exports to Russia declined by more than 40% year-on-year, partly due to market restrictions.