France complains to Russia over livestock controls

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France's President Nicolas Sarkozy complained to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev Thursday that health checks on French livestock and beef imports into Russia were disadvantaging French farmers.

Sarkozy said Russian import authorities enforced tough vaccination rules on French livestock which discouraged Russian farmers.

He also complained that the Russians were applying precautions for mad cow disease to French beef even though it had been eliminated in France.

"Maintaining these measures does not seem to correspond to the degree of trust which characterises our economic and political cooperation," the French leader wrote in the letter, released by his office.

"These measures targeting French farmers and businesses do not seem justified to us," said the letter, signed "Your friend, Nicolas Sarkozy."

Sarkozy said the checks were not in line with World Health Organisation norms and "Russia does not apply the measures to its own products with the same strictness it imposes on its trading partners."

© 2010 AFP

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