ANALYSIS – There have been developments on world poultry meat trade issues over the last week. India has failed to agreed to lift restrictions on the import of US poultry meat in consultations and the US is now taking the issue to the World Trade Organization. At the same time, Brazil is pushing India to fulfill its side of a previous trade agreement and allow the importation of Brazilian poultry meat. A new report says that Thailand is ready to return to a leading position in the global poultry market; the EU is to allow imports of unprocessed poultry meat from that country from July this year. At the latest EU Agriculture meeting, animal slaughter without prior stunning and welfare during transportation were discussed. There are reports of new outbreaks of bird flu in poultry in South Africa and Taiwan.
Global trade issues have been much in the news lately. During recent consultations, India failed to agreed to lift restrictions on the import of US poultry meat.
The US Trade Representative says the US has requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute settlement panel to decide US claims regarding the government of India’s restrictions on imports of various US agricultural products, including poultry meat and chicken eggs.
By conservative estimates, if India’s trade barriers were eliminated, the value of US poultry exports to India each year would surpass $300 million.
In related news, Brazil and US are said to be joining forces to open up the Indian market to their poultry meat.
Representatives of the Brazilian Poultry Union (UBABEF) have been in India recently for negotiations with local chicken distributors.
In 2008, Brazil and India concluded a sanitary agreement for the export of Brazilian chicken meat to India. However, the 100-per–cent tariff imposed by the Indian government has prevented imports.
UBABEF says the US and Brazilian export sectors have great expectations on the opening of the Indian market, which still has a low per–capita consumption of poultry meat.
Thailand looks set to return to a leading position in the global poultry market after the EU announced that it will end restrictions on imports of raw poultry meat from Thailand on 1 July 2012, according to a new report.
At the latest EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting, concerns were raised over the possible misuse of religious exemptions to stunning before slaughter.
Some member states supported the Swedish delegation over its concern about the possible overuse of the lack of stunning in certain member states. Recommendations on ritual slaughtering have been published in 2011 and a study is ongoing to evaluate the opportunity for informing the consumer about this type of slaughtering.
According to Directive 93/119, animals must be stunned before slaughter. However, this requirement does not apply in the case of animals subject to particular methods of slaughter requested by certain religious rites.
At the same meeting, many members of the European Parliament called for other aspects of animal welfare to be improved. They highlighted welfare during transport for improvement but they said cutting transport time to eight hours must be supplemented by other measures, such as support for local slaughterhouses and meat processing plants, upgrading transport vehicles and full and uniform control of compliance with existing rules throughout the EU.
And finally, turning to bird flu news, the cause of a suspected outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu in ostriches in South Africa’s Western Cape province has been identified as the low pathogenic virus, H5N2. The same strain has been identified at two poultry farms in Taiwan, one of which is classified as highly pathogenic and the other as low-pathogenic. The Hong Kong authorities have lifted a ban on the import of poultry products from northeastern Liaoning province on the Chinese mainland following an earlier outbreak of bird flu in Dalian City.