WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia should be restored and sanctions removed to open up markets for trade, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) President James Sumner told Sputnik.
"We are following the developments in the bilateral political relations, hoping that political dialogue between our two countries will be re-established at some time in the future, and that sanctions and embargoes will be lifted, opening the markets for free trade," Sumner said on Friday.
Sanctions and embargoes, Sumner noted, were purely political issues, but the US poultry industry had more serious challenges at home.
"USAPEEC is much more concerned with avian influenza outbreaks in 2014 and 2015, and the serious impact they have had on US exports," he said.
September 12 marks one year since the United States, the European Union and some of their allies imposed a second package of sanctions targeting Russia's largest banks, oil and defense companies and some Russian citizens.
In August 2014, the Russian government imposed a ban on the import of some food products from countries that had imposed sanctions against Russia. The ban has since been extended for another year.
However, Sumner noted that the impact of the sanctions on the Export Council had been minimal.
"US processors export about 20 percent of all poultry meat produced in the United States, and exports to Russia at the time when sanctions were introduced represented only 3.5 percent of all poultry meat and sub-products of all exports," he said.
Sumner also underlined that Washington and Moscow continued to cooperation addressing common issues.
"The poultry industries of the United States, Russia and many other countries cooperate in addressing the issues of healthy nutrition and providing the most affordable source of proteins for their countries and for international markets," he said.
The two countries also worked together to combat outbreaks of avian influenza and in introducing the most advanced technologies of poultry production in day-to-day practices, he explained.
"US companies still provide a wide scope of services and products to Russian poultry producers, such as genetic material, equipment, technology, veterinary preparations and feed additives, though in smaller quantities, due to dramatic depreciation of the Russian ruble," Sumner added.
Russia's relations with the West deteriorated significantly in 2014 over the crisis in Ukraine.
The United States and the European Union accused Russia of interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs and then imposed several rounds of sanctions on Moscow.
Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations and expressed its readiness to resume dialogue with the Western countries, but on terms of mutual respect and cooperation.