Russian Delegation Negotiating Purchase of US Grain
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Russian delegation met with Agriculture Department officials on Tuesday to negotiate a purchase of U.S. grain, but no deal was reached immediately.
Leonid Cheshinsky, chairman of Russia’s state committee on grain products, said the hour-long discussion was useful, but details were not worked out and other talks would be held later in the week.
He did not say specifically how much grain Russia wants.
Agriculture Department officials estimate that all 12 republics of the former Soviet Union as a group will have to import a total 24 million metric tons of grain for the international marketing year that began July 1.
Russia alone has been estimated to need between 10 million and 20 million metric tons.
Bumper crops predicted in the United States because of good weather this growing season mean that American farmers will have surpluses and U.S. officials will be eager to negotiate export sales.
President Bush is expected to announce new incentive programs to enhance wheat exports when he travels to South Dakota on Wednesday, but the Russian deal does not seem far enough along to be part of that announcement.
The former Soviet Union was the biggest single customer for U.S. wheat sold abroad. Since its breakup the republics have been negotiating independent deals with the United States.
Travelling with Cheshinsky as part of the Russia delegation are Sergey A. Barykin, president of Prodintorg Corp., Russia’s food buying agency; Kyrill Ivanov, deputy minister of foreign economic relations of the Russian Federation and Oleg A. Klimov, president of Exportkhelb, the Russian grain- buying agency.