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DITP debunks rumour Walmart banning Thai coconut due to monkey labour


US retail store giant Walmart did not remove Thai products made from coconut milk from its shelves because it was pressured by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in a bid to ban Thailand for using monkeys to pick coconuts, said the Commerce Ministry’s Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP).

It was responding to the rumour which has been circulating on social media.

“I have asked the commerce office in the US and was informed that the rumour is just not true,” DITP director-general Phusit Rattanakul Sereeruengsit said on Wednesday.

“Officials there reported that it is normal for retail stores to remove some of the products from their shelves during certain periods in accordance with consumer demand, which will vary upon seasons and market trends,” Phusit said.

“Walmart is still importing products from Thailand and the trade relationship between Thailand and the US is still strong,” he insisted.

DITP debunks rumour Walmart banning Thai coconut due to monkey labour

Phusit said the department has been communicating with its trade partners after news that the United Kingdom banned monkey-picked coconut products from Thailand in mid-2020.

“We explained that only few communities are using monkeys to pick coconuts as a traditional way of life. No monkeys have been used to pick coconuts for export,” he clarified.

“We have also compiled a monkey-free farm list so that foreign importers can select only farms that comply with no-animal-abuse standards,” he said.

The DIPT reported that in 2021 Thailand exported ready-to-drink coconut milk valued at 26.58 billion baht worldwide, a 2.57 per cent decrease year on year, which indicated that the ban on monkey-picked coconut did not create a significant impact.

The United States market is responsible for about one fourth of total coconut milk exports.

Published : June 15, 2022

By : THE NATION