Russia’s agriculture minister announced plans to cut 2009 import quotas on poultry by 300,000 tonnes and pork by 200,000 tonnes, according to Reuters. The long-awaited quota reduction is designed to help domestic producers and could hit suppliers in the United States, who last year exported nearly $1 billion worth of poultry, mainly frozen chicken legs, and other meat products to Russia. Russia, under an agreement that runs from 2005 until 2009, limits meat imports through a system of tariff quotas that increase every year. Cherkizovo, Russia''s largest meat producer, said domestic poultry prices were flat in rouble terms in the first half of the year due to competition from cheaper imports from the United States and Brazil. Poultry market lobbies from Russia and the United States agreed in principle in July to cut tariff quotas on U.S. imports from next year. The current system would allow for the United States to supply 931,500 tonnes of the total 1.25 million tonnes to be supplied in 2009. Putin urged the government to speed up the process of revising the quotas. This year, Russia permitted 1.21 million tonnes of tariff-free poultry imports, of which the United States can supply 901,400 tonnes. In August, Moscow banned imports from 19 U.S. producers, including three plants belonging to Tyson Foods, citing health and safety grounds. Pork imports are set at 493,500 tonnes this year and were due to rise to 502,200 tonnes in 2009. The European Union has the largest share of the quotas.