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Thailand May Retaliate Against EU, Japan For Poultry Ban

by 5m Editor
5 February 2004, at 12:00am

THAILAND - Thailand have indicated that they will retaliate against the European Union, Japan, and other chicken importers if they keep the ban on Thai poultry deemed safe by international bodies, Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook said.

Thailand May Retaliate Against EU, Japan For Poultry Ban - THAILAND - Thailand have indicated that they will retaliate against the European Union, Japan, and other chicken importers if they keep the ban on Thai poultry deemed safe by international bodies, Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook said.

The European Union extended a ban on imports of Thai poultry for six months Tuesday to protect the bloc from an outbreak of the deadly bird flu which shows few signs of abating.

Japan, Thailand's largest poultry importer, banned all chicken imports from the country last month after it confirmed it was suffering an outbreak of the disease which has spread across Asia and killed 15 people.

"If our trading partners still insist on banning we will consider retaliation against their goods because with our medical certificates verified by the WHO (World Health Organization) they have no reason for further delays," Watana said.

"There are reasonable bans on raw and frozen chicken but if there are extra conditions imposed then it will be fair to retaliate," he added.

The WHO has said the avian influenza virus is transmitted mainly through contact with infected birds or their droppings and not through eating poultry or eggs, noting that the virus is destroyed in chicken products that are cooked at 75 degrees Celsius (167 Fahrenheit) or hotter.

Thailand, Asia's largest chicken exporter with overseas sales of 1.2 billion dollars last year, was eager to negotiate with Japan, the main importer of Thai poultry, to relax its ban, Watana said.

"I will ask Japan to open its market to us if they have no reason (to shut Thailand out). If not, that means they are not fair and I will ask them to steam their Toyota cars before exporting them here," he said.

Japan had already rejected and returned 50,000 tonnes of frozen chicken to Thailand, he added.

Thailand's Finance Minister Suchart Jaovisidha tried to downplay the chicken disaster's economic impacts.

"It will not seriously affect Thailand's economy as we have estimated if the chicken ban lasts for three months it will reduce (growth) by only 0.1 percentage points and if the ban stays for six months it will decrease by 0.2 percentage points," he said.

Independent economists have warned the bird flu crisis could stunt Thailand's growth by as much as half a percentage point.

The EU's ban does not apply to imports of cooked Thai chicken.

Japan is reportedly considering easing its ban on chicken imports by exempting processed products and the government intends to send experts to Thailand to study conditions here.

Source: eFeedLink - 5th Febuary 2004

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