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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release March 25, 1996


Vice President Al Gore welcomed Russia's announcement today that U.S. exports of poultry to Russia will continue, and that Russia shortly will begin to issue new import licenses to American poultry exporters.

"The President and I are pleased by this announcement, and look forward to the prompt resumption of American poultry exports to the Russian market," Vice President Gore said. He added, "the resolution of Russia's veterinary concerns relating to U.S. poultry is an important first step toward a comprehensive settlement of poultry trade issues between the U.S. and Russia."

In an agreement reached today in Washington, D.C., Russia formally recognized that the U.S. inspection system and the American poultry itself are fully acceptable for the Russian market. Russia's chief veterinarian, Vyacheslav Avilov, also confirmed in the talks that shipments that have left port for Russia prior to March 20, 1996 will be accepted, and that issuance of new import licenses will be resumed quickly.

The agreement, negotiated by the United States Trade Representative and the Department of Agriculture, clarifies U.S. compliance with Russian requirements. It also puts in place bilateral practices for U.S. plant approval -- for example, spot-checks of U.S. poultry plants and a notification system to review issues and concerns -- that will help ensure that similar problems do not arise in the future.

Earlier this month, the Vice President had received assurances from Russia's Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin that poultry trade would continue. The agreement formalizes the Prime Minister's commitment. It also affirms the Vice President's assurances to the Prime Minister that the U.S. is committed to exporting products of the highest quality.

The Administration is committed to pursuing a complete resolution of all issues that could affect poultry exports to Russia. Additional negotiations starting Thursday will focus on tariffs and customs practices.