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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Russia Bans Ukrainian Meat and Diary Imports: What’s the Beef?

Russia’s ban on meat and diary imports from Ukraine has experts split over motives. Some argue Ukraine has itself to blame. Ukrainian authorities have already admitted to a series of missteps, such as allowing passage of Indian-made meat to Russia while marked as Ukrainian-made. In today’s epidemic-infested world, as countries struggle to protect themselves from false identity food products, it appears that Russia did what it had to do. Ukraine should behave, or face the consequences.

However, others argue that Russia overreacted, with the punishment blown out of proportion to the crime. Acting on an isolated incident, Russia did what it wanted to do, they say. Now that the recent gas and beacon episodes have contributed to the Kremlin’s trigger happy condition, it has jumped at the opportunity to pull the trigger.

Anyway, Ukraine has pledged to correct the situation and put an end to the practice of reexporting third country meat products. Ukraine should follow through immediately: The beef-for-beacon row could cost an estimated $30-50 m in lost earnings for the industry. It takes two to trade. May neither one break the golden rule.

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