US exporters, said Thad Lively, senior vice-president - trade access, had been “shipping a little fat to Russia”. But with the Russian government expanding its ban to cover meat by-products, as well as live pigs, “now that will end”.
Lively noted that although the “EU was the principal target” of the Russian government’s ban, the impact of their tightening sanctions regime has been felt by the US as well. “Trade volume was very big [prior to the start of the Russian meat bans], not just in pork, but also in beef, which had accounted for some US$600 million of exports to Russia annually.
“We’ve followed this really closely,” he said. “This was once an important market for us and we had hoped it would pick up again.” That said, the federation will not be releasing a formal statement on the latest move.
It is not alone. None of the major American meat and livestock trade associations has issued policy statements in the wake of the announcement by the Russian government. The office of the US Trade Representative has been similarly quiet.
“We haven't sent any pork over there for a while,” a source close to the US pork industry explained. “We’ve kept out of this for a while and don’t generally comment on Russia. I’m guessing it’s at the diplomatic level.”