USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk have issued the following statement in response to Russia's new requirements that U.S. beef and pork exports to Russia be tested and certified free of the feed additive ractopamine:
"The United States is very concerned that Russia has taken these actions, which appear to be inconsistent with its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The United States calls on Russia to suspend these new measures and restore market access for U.S. beef and pork products.
"The United States sought, and Russia committed as part of its WTO accession package, to ensure that it adhered rigorously to WTO requirements and that it would use international standards unless it had a risk assessment to justify use of a more stringent standard.
"Especially in light of its commitment to use international standards, this is an important opportunity for Russia to demonstrate that it takes its WTO commitments seriously."