Chicken Exporters Call for Raised Quotas

THAILAND - Broiler chicken exporters are urging the government to negotiate with the European Union to raise import quotas for Thai cooked poultry.
calendar icon 1 September 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Thailand can currently ship only cooked products to the EU, which has given it an import quota of 160,033 tonnes of boiled chickens a year, according to Suthep Tirapipattanakul, the director of the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters.

The EU had given Thailand a larger export quota allocation of 252,643 tonnes - 160,033 tonnes of processed chicken and 92,610 tonnes of salted poultry. However, after the bird flu outbreak, Thailand failed to exercise its eligible quota to export salted poultry to the EU market.

Since July 2007, salted chicken under the quota has been taxed at 15.4 per cent, while shipments exceeding the quota are taxed at 1,300 per tonne. Cooked chicken within the quota is taxed at 8 per cent and any excess is taxed at 1,024 per tonne.

Mr Suthep said the association has already petitioned the Commerce Ministry to include the issue in negotiations under the Asean-EU free trade area agreement framework.

"If possible, we would like the EU to scrap the import quota system for Thai cooked poultry," said Mr Suthep.

Shipments of cooked chicken from Thailand have increased significantly since the EU banned frozen chicken in 2004 due to avian flu. Cooked-chicken exports to the EU rose from 77,749 tonnes in 2005 to 127,709 tonnes in 2006, and 150,000 tonnes last year. This year, Thailand is expected to export 160,000 tonnes of cooked chicken to the EU.

Last year, Thailand exported a total of 333,523 tonnes of cooked chicken, generating 37.3 billion baht, according to the Bangkok Post.

According to Mr Suthep, also executive vice-president for group operation development of Betagro Group, Betagro expected to see a steady growth in cooked chicken exports to the EU.

The EU currently constitutes up to 45 per cent of Betagro's cooked chicken exports, with its shipments to EU market expected to reach about 10,000 tonnes this year.

A source from the Department of Trade Negotiations said Thailand's standpoint for Asean-EU FTA negotiations on chicken issues is to ask the EU to scrap its import quota system.

The EU aims for pacts that abolish 90 per cent of tariffs within seven years and is concerned about non-tariff barriers and regulatory issues.

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