A bipartisan group of 33 senators on Tuesday issued a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk asking him to quickly address Russia's import ban on meats due to ractopamine concerns.
The ban, which was officially announced Feb. 12, is based on Russia's zero-tolerance policy against ractopamine, a veterinary drug used to promote leanness in meat. However, the Senators say, Russia's ban is not based on "sound science" and violates World Trade Organization policy because ractopamine is a Codex Alimentarius Commission-approved additive.
"Russia has now banned U.S. beef, pork and turkey imports as it imposes its new zero-tolerance standard. With this trade worth $600 million annually, Russia's standard is an egregious trade barrier with no scientific merit," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., wrote in the letter.
The Senators said that by using all enforcement tools available, the groups hopes that the issues surrounding Russia's ban can be resolve to ensure a stable and predictable trading environment.
"The United States must do everything it can to defend its rights in both the WTO and CODEX and prevent non-science-based trading practices from other trading partners, including Russia. Further, we must demonstrate to Russia that its newfound commitment to WTO membership includes adherence to science-based standards, such as the CODEX MRL for ractopamine," the letter said.
Senators signing the letter include: Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mike Johanns, R-Neb., Mark Udall, D-Colo., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Al Franken, D-Minn., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, John Boozman, R-Ark., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Kay Hagan, D-N.C., John Thune, R-S.D., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Dan Coats, R-Ind., John Isakson, R-Ga., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Roy Blunt, R-Mo. and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.