The leaders of the Senate Ag Committee are urging U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to quickly address Russia’s new ban on U.S. beef, poultry and turkey. They say the ban - which would cost the U.S. economy 600-million dollars a year - is unfounded, not based on science and violates World Trade Organization rules. In a letter to Kirk - Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Thad Cochran write that it’s their hope the issues surrounding the ban can be quickly and decisively resolved with his swift action and use of all enforcement tools available. They say quick resolution will ensure a stable and predictable trading environment for U.S. livestock producers and exporters. The letter was co-signed by a bipartisan group of 33 Senators.
Russia is enforcing a zero-tolerance standard for trace amounts of ractopamine - an important feed additive for domestic livestock production. The letter to Kirk states that Russia’s decision contradicts generally accepted scientific conclusions and the country’s obligations as a member of the WTO.