The market for U.S. beef in Russia has been closed for over three years, ever since Russia banned U.S. beef after the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Washington State in late 2003. The market is set to open, though, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation is looking into what has changed in the past three years in order to develop a re-entry plan for U.S. beef.
Not only will Russia be allowing the import of U.S. beef, but the beef market there has an opening as beef exports from the EU have dropped off. Beef production in the EU dropped 18% between 1990 and 2004, and the EU agreed in July 2006 to give up a large part of its quota in Russia - 233,000 metric tons (close to 257,000 tons) - to other countries, and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization predicts the decline in EU beef production to continue.
"Russia has the potential of becoming a large market for U.S. beef," says Ricardo Vernazza-Paganini, USMEF director, Central & South America and global strategic coordination, in a USMEF release. "Assessing the market situation and consumer attitudes will assist USMEF and U.S. companies to successfully re-enter and expand the market."
Russia will accept imports of both boneless and bone-in beef from 30 month-old or younger cattle, leading to broader U.S. beef access in mid-2007.