Russia bans 19 US poultry exporting companies

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Moscow, Aug 29 (UNI) Russia's agricultural regulator, Rosselkhoznadzor, today said 19 US poultry companies will be banned from exporting their products to Russia as of September 1 due to sanitary concerns.

''The inspection also showed that many companies had not taken measures to remove flaws revealed during previous checks,'' the regulator said in a statement.

Rosselkhoznadzor said the decision was a result of a joint Russia-US inspection of poultry firms in late July and early August.

About 120 companies will remain on the list of suppliers to Russia, but the regulator said 29 more companies will face the same ban unless they raise their standards.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had mentioned in his interview to CNN last night the plans to impose the ban, but denied any link with ongoing standoff with Georgia.

Mr Putin's statement came after the US said it might scrap a civil nuclear deal with Russia as punishment for its military action in Georgia and recognition of Georgia's breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The United States is Russia's largest poultry supplier. The country has supplied 870,000 metric tons of the 1.2-million-metric-ton poultry quota set by Russia for 2008.

Russia has imposed several temporary bans on pork and poultry from various US producers in recent years.

Till 2006, the issue was a major stumbling block in bilateral negotiations on Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organisation WTO).

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