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Industry Warned to Prepare for Cheap Imports

by 5m Editor
8 November 2011, at 9:36am

BARBADOS - Local poultry producers must confront the threat of cheaper poultry meat imports from the US, says a senior official with the poultry association.

The poultry industry in Barbados and across the Caribbean is being urged to mount a challenge to deal with threats from cheap imports coming especially from the United States, according to Barbados Advocate.

Desmond Ali, Executive Director of the Caribbean Poultry Association said the industry which makes sales in excess of Bds$1.3 million annually has to sort out these threats as well as other issues.

He made the comments at a presentation entitled, 'Trade Agreements and Trade Negotiations', sponsored by the CPA, through the Barbados Agricultural Society and the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association.

The presentation at the Barbados Yacht Club was given by Trade Specialist, Dr Kusha Haraksingh.

Mr Ali said: "The industry is under threat because of the huge amounts of imports mainly from the USA."

He explained that both Russia and China, two large importers of poultry, had taken decisions that they want to become major exporters of the products. The latter, he went on, took action against imports from the US on the grounds that they were cheaper than the cost of producing the products in China, thereby resulting in a huge backlog of supplies in the US.

"In the USA, there is a huge accumulation of dark (chicken) meat and the Americans have decided what better place to look for in disposing it than in its own backyard, the Caribbean. A lot of it is therefore ending up in the Caribbean," Mr Ali told delegates.

He said that the industry in the Caribbean now has to look for ways to deal with the cheap imports from the USA.

The poultry sector is one of the largest sub-sectors in agriculture generating about US$650 million in sales annually, reports Barbados Advocate.

Mr Ali concluded, saying that Caribbean producers were in the unfortunate position of being located between Brazil and the USA, two of the region’s largest producers. Brazil, he added, is a very low-cost producer.