USDA International Egg and Poultry
16 May 2012
The EU banned imports of uncooked poultry in January 2004 after highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 was confirmed in Thailand, but continued to import cooked poultry meat products treated to a temperature of at least 70 degrees Celsius as they posed no risk for disease introduction. Countries that have lifted the HPAI ban on Thai uncooked frozen chicken meat include Hong Kong, South Africa, Bahrain, and Russia.
After the ban went into effect, Thailand’s broiler meat exports to the EU fell from 98,231 tons in 2003 to none in 2005. However, further processed broiler meat rose from 61,628 tons to 113,096 tons.
A press release in the Midday Express of 2012-04-03 stated:
“The EU Member States today supported the Commission's proposal to lift the restrictions on import of fresh poultry meat from Thailand from 1 July 2012. The Commission had adopted protection measures in early 2004 to suspend imports into the EU of fresh poultry meat and other poultry products from Thailand following outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza of the H5N1 subtype (HPAI H5N1). In response to the original protection measures, Thailand implemented a rigorous policy to stamp-out the pathogen, including intensive surveillance and quick elimination of infected animals, and as a result successfully eradicated HPAI H5N1 from its territory.
The HPAI H5N1 epidemic had started in South East Asia in mid 2003 and the virus spread in the following years to three continents including Europe, affecting overall more than 60 countries. The Commission adopted several protection measures to prohibit imports of poultry and poultry products from disease affected third countries, including Thailand, in order to avoid any risk of introducing the virus into EU poultry flocks, and any risk to human health.
Commission experts carried out several inspection missions in Thailand during this period, to evaluate the measures which had been put in place to eradicate and to control the situation. The outcome of the last mission (March 2011) showed that Thailand can provide sufficient guarantees to comply with the EU import requirements for poultry meat.
Given this favorable animal health situation which now prevails in Thailand, the Commission proposed to Member States to lift the prohibition of imports of poultry meat from Thailand. Today, at a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), the Member States supported the draft proposal.”
In the newest version of Annex I to Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff as laid down in Commission Regulation (EU) No 1006/2011 published in OJ L 282 of 28 October 2011, the tariff lines 1602 39 40 and 1602 39 80 have been merged into a tariff line 1602 39 85.
According to FAS/Bangkok, a few large export-oriented chicken processing plants have indicated that Thailand would be able to export 50,000 metric tons of uncooked chicken meat to the EU in the second half of 2012 (July 1- December 31). FAS/Bangkok is closely monitoring this situation and will update developments as these occur. If this forecast results, the unofficial estimate of production in 2012 will increase to 1.47 MMT, a growth of 9 percent over the 2011 level.
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