Ukraine has agreed to start imports of US poultry following a two-year ban. The hard-fought settlement was reached after months of tough negotiations between the two nations.
Ukrainian agricultural policy minister Serhiy Riyzhuk said that the final documents are expected to be signed during Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych visit to Washington next week.
"We are telling American business that the issue is now solved and they can send their poultry to Ukraine," said Riyzhuk, according to the Associated Press.
The deal however limits imports to chickens that are certified by US health officials as not containing any growth stimulants, hormones or other additives that are banned in the Ukraine. The head of the ministry's veterinary department said that such quality criteria applies to all countries.
Ukraine has not imported any US poultry since a ban was imposed in January 2002. The ban was put in place becasue of the widespread practice in the US poultry industry to use antibiotics and chemicals to stimulate chicken growth. In addition, preservatives and disinfecting substances are used to keep meat fresh.
Such chemicals are banned in Ukraine despite US assurances that such meat is safe.
The ban has caused a major turnaround in the country's meat processing industry. Beforehand, US producers supplied the Ukraine with about 90 per cent of its chicken imports. In 2002, the Ukraine imported 73,000 tons of chicken.
A deal between the Ukraine and the US had actually been reached back in April, but persisting problems held up the actual lifting of the ban.