The National Chicken Council has welcomed the end of the Russian ban on US chicken imports, which is expected to mean that trade is returned to normal by 10 April.

In a statement, the Council, which represents integrated chicken producer- processors, said: "A positive outcome to this situation is in the best interests of all concerned - especially the US industry and Russian consumers.

"We appreciate very much the hard work of the US Ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow, and his staff and other members of the US government negotiating team, in the resolution of this matter. We are grateful for the high-level attention this matter received, including the personal involvement of President Bush and the involvement of several members of his Cabinet, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans, and Special Trade Representative Robert Zoellick.

"We look forward to continuing the mutually beneficial trade with Russia [and] we understand that the US and Russian governments will also hold talks on possible revisions to the 1996 protocol governing the trade."