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Senators Urge President to Address Ag Export Issue with Russia

WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ben Nelson of Nebraska today released a letter asking President Obama to prioritize Russia’s compliance with scientific standards set for international trade of for beef, pork and poultry products as part of negotiations with Russia over international trade relations.

“As we look to possibly grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations to Russia as part of the WTO accession process, livestock producers in the United States needs the President to give attention to sanitary and phytosanitary issues,” Grassley said.  “As it stands, Russians have standards that simply aren’t supported by science for some U.S. meat and poultry exports.”

“Nebraska livestock producers have seen a drop in sales from Russia imposing standards not based entirely on sound science,” Nelson said. “Russia’s restrictions on American livestock violate the WTO rules, and we must have assurances Russia will abide by all of its rules and standards before Russia joins the WTO.”

On Thursday, the Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Permanent Normal Trade Relations for Russia.  Grassley, a former chairman of the committee, said he will ask questions of administration officials about Russia’s treatment of U.S. agricultural goods.

The text of the Grassley-Nelson letter is below.  The following 32 senators joined them in signing the letter:  Mark Kirk of Illinois, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, John Thune of South Dakota, Al Franken of Minnesota, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Michael Bennett of Colorado, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Kay Hagan of North Dakota, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mark Udall of Colorado, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Dan Coats of Indiana, Orrin Hatch of Utah, John Boozman of Arkansas, and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Click here to see a signed copy of the letter.

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