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Russia says meat imports deal clears obstacle to WTO

MOSCOW/REUTERS

Russia, aiming to join the World Trade Organization by the end of the year, has arrived at a compromise on meat imports, which have been a sticking point in final talks.

Russia regulates meat imports with annual tariff quotas, under which certain volumes may be imported at a discount tariff, while volumes above the quotas may be imported at a high tariff to encourage the country s own pork and poultry industry.

Terms of the deal were not released but involved a change in quotas.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he was confident that Russia would be able to resolve remaining issues in order to join the WTO this year.

CFIA holds the line on export fees

Shippers of livestock and embryos from Canada can expect their export certification fees to stay the same for about the next two years.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said late last month it will continue to cap its user fees at $75 until September 2013 for a specific list of livestock and embryo industries.

Between now and then, the CFIA said it plans to work with those industries to modernize the user fee structure.

The user fee cap is specific to export certification fees that are now charged on a per-unit basis with no upper limit, CFIA said. The cap applies to certain swine, cattle, flightless birds, poultry, hatching eggs, horses, sheep and goats, plus the embryo export sector.

The decision to extend the cap on user fees is expected to save livestock producers up to $2.7 million, the government said Thursday.

The agency hasn t increased its fees or instituted new ones since CFIA was created in 1997, the government said.

The fee schedule is to be modernized as it hasn t kept pace with technological advances, the government added.

Furthermore, shipments of live animals and embryos are now much larger than were originally anticipated.

Until the fees can be reworked, however, the continued fee cap will have no impact on the level of inspection or the health of animals, the government said.

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