The European Union will lift its marathon ban against fresh chicken imports from Thailand on July 1.
Thailand’s Agricultural Affairs Office in Belgium sent a letter to the Agriculture Ministry in Bangkok on Tuesday, saying the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health reached a consensus to allow sales of Thai fresh chicken after eight years.
Sales were prohibited on January 23, 2004 due to the bird-flu outbreak.
However, Thai fresh chicken has to come under an export quota. The Commerce Ministry should prepare to manage exports under the EU restrictions, the Brussels office said.
The Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association has reported that the country’s chicken exports grew 6.31 per cent to 462,525 tonnes worth Bt62.15 billion, of which Japan accounted for 44.45 per cent and the EU for 42.84 per cent.
The trade association had predicted that exports would increase slightly by 3.78 per cent to 480,000 tonnes worth Bt64.11 billion this year.
Adirek Sripratak, president and CEO of Charoen Pokphand Foods, said the reopening of the EU market to Thai chicken, as a sign of confidence in Thai poultry products, would boost Thailand’s exports not only to that market but also to other countries such as Japan.
Only Brazil can now access the EU market. Thailand will become the second country to ship fresh chicken meat to the region. However Thai exporters would have to focus most on quality as required by the EU.
"Although we haven’t faced a bird-flu outbreak for years, we should not ignore being careful of other contamination factors and diseases," he said.