Russia is expected to remain the biggest market for US poultry even after Moscow imposed import quotas next month, the US Department of Agriculture has said.

Russian poultry import quotas are due to commence on 1 May and will restrict US poultry exports to the region to 553,500 tonnes for the rest of the year, reported Reuters.

David Harvey, a poultry analyst for the USDA said US poultry exports to Russia this year could be slightly up on last year’s total of 721,000 tonnes.

"Even with the poultry import quota scheduled to begin May 1, Russia is expected to remain by far the largest market for US broiler exports in 2003," the USDA was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Before trade problems with Russia arose last year, the US was exporting around 1.1 million tonnes of chicken to Russia each year.