The European Union is to lift its import ban on raw chicken meat from Thailand as and from 01st July 2012.
In 2003 the European Commission (EC) suspended imports of fresh chicken meat and other chicken products from Thailand following outbreaks of avain influenza. Thailand has now eradicated the virus and in March 2011 EC inspectors concluded that Thailand can provide sufficient guarantees to comply with EU import requirements for raw chicken meat.
Thailand’s return to the EU will have limited impact on the EU’s fresh chicken market as it is protected by the fresh-meat labeling standards.
However the impact on the international poultry market may be substantial. Traditionally, Thailand is a strong competitor on import prices in the higher value EU markets. Eventhough existing quotas will remain, import prices are expected to fall as competition between suppliers, such as Brazil and Argentina, increase
According to Rabobank, the return of Thailand’s chicken exports will create a new market demand for salted chicken products and that will have some negative impact on sales of processed poultry products to the EU.
However, the EU’s decision will have an even greater impact if, as is generally expected, Japan follows suit. If this happens Thailand is expected to regain pre 2003 avian influenza volumn. As a result, the Thai poultry industry could see increased investments while competing exporters such as Brazil and Argentina will need to protect their market positions