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January 24 2002, 16:27 Interfax

Does Ukraine has any legal grounds to ban US chicken imports?

As previously reported, Ukraine has introduced a veto on US poultry imports motivating that US uses antibiotics and stimulators raising chicken.

US believes Ukraine has no legal grounds to ban poultry imports, said Jim Sumner, the USA Poultry and Eggs Export Committee (USAPEEC) President.

"Reasons behind Ukrainian veterinary service ban are insufficient and create trade barriers which may be treated with counter measures," believes Mr. Sumner.

He also stated that John Prucham, the USDA Foodstuffs Safety Service wrote an official letter to Petro Verbytskyi, Ukraine's Veterinary Service Chief.

It was reported that US poultry producers strictly follow the veterinary laws stipulated by the Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points, which are adopted officially by the WTO as a standard sys-tem for foodstuffs safety regulations.

According to Sumner, 7,500 veterinary inspectors monitor the poultry production and regulat checks do not prove any antibiotics content in chicken products. Use of hormones in poultry production has been prohibited for many years in the USA and announcements about US still using hormones are "pointless" to say the least.

Mr. Sumner also disbelieves Ukrainian statement where domestic production is sufficient for the domestic poultry market. He believes that banning US poultry will result in drastic price jumps thus making it impossible for a middle class Ukrainians (the main consumer) to afford chicken.

Ukrainian side reports that 72,000 Mt of meat has been imported in 2001 of which 69,000 Mt represent poultry where US poultry made up 90%!

Real motivation behind banning is still to be discovered. Negotiations between US embassy to Ukraine and Ukraine's Veterinary Service are under way.

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