USA vs Russia: Real Victims are the Chickens

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 8/08/2014 01:30:00 AM
The victims we know so well / They shine in your eyes when they kiss and tell.
The main difficulty for the United States in applying trade sanctions against Russia is that, well, there is not really that much trade between them. The US doesn't buy significant amounts of oil and gas from Russia--its main lines of export. On the other hand, Russia usually reacts to these sanctions by halting imports of the major agricultural product it does import from the US. It's not consulting services, financial services, or the like. Instead, it's poultry as the real losers in this game of chicken are our fair feathered friends:
 In response to U.S.-led sanctions against Russia, Moscow is banning imports of U.S. chicken. The order issued Wednesday is expected to block access to America’s third biggest poultry export market for a year. The ban comes after Washington and its European allies imposed targeted sanctions on Russia’s energy, banking and defense industries to punish Moscow for its support of separatists in neighboring Ukraine...Russia accounts for only 7% of American poultry exports today, down from 20% as recently as 2008 and 40% in the mid-1990s.
 It is war by trade means...
The move has become something of a tradition every time relations between Moscow and Washington turn frosty.In 2008, Russia banned several American poultry producers over U.S. support of Georgia in the South Ossetia War. Moscow briefly imposed a broader ban in 2002 in response to U.S. steel tariffs. When former Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin sought reelection in 1996, Moscow blocked U.S. chicken to curry favor with domestic producers. Russia also implements dubious safety regulations on American poultry when relations are strained:
Russian concerns over Western food safety practices often coincide with tense political relations. In 2010, the ban was a point of pride in Russia, eschewing the Soviet-era days of the early 1990s when the first Bush administration sent over American chicken as food aid. During the South Ossetia War in 2008, Russia blacklisted several American chicken producers over U.S. support for Georgia. And in 2002, when the U.S. raised steel tariffs for foreign trade, Russia stopped importing chickens from the U.S.
As mentioned above, the chickens take it on the cackles since they're the United States' only substantive exports to Russia:
Chicken is vulnerable because it’s one of the few things the U.S. sells to Russia. “It’s the damndest thing. When Putin came to visit the U.S., he and Obama were talking about nuclear proliferation one second and then poultry the next,” said Mike Cockrell, chief financial officer and treasurer for Sanderson Farms Inc., a Mississippi company that sends about 40,000 metric tons, or 2% of its total annual production, to Russia

We don’t want to lose them. They’re a good customer,” Cockrell said of Russia. “But if we do, the industry will find alternative markets. My guess is every company in the industry is calling to find those.”
So now we know the real victims when war drums sound in the background. Such fowl play is never welcome. In the immortal words of Culture Club: And I keep on telling you / Please don't do the things you do / When you do those things / Pull my puppet strings / I have the strangest void for you...