Russia mulls poultry, pork import quota cuts

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia is thinking of cutting back on the amount of poultry and pork it imports -- a move that could hit American producers hard.

The country's agriculture minister is talking about reducing import quotas by hundreds of thousands of tons, and suggesting that domestic producers could make up the shortfall.

The talk comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over the war in the ex-Soviet Republic of Georgia.

Any substantial cuts would likely have a significant impact on U.S. poultry producers, for whom Russia is the biggest foreign market.

But the president of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council says the industry is moving into new markets, including China and Ukraine, that could potentially offset any drop in business from Russia.

American meat producers are increasingly looking to international markets as a way to offset domestic sluggishness, so any cuts could hurt them. They're grappling with high production costs and an oversupply of meat on the U.S. market, which is keeping prices down.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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