February 10, 2015


South Korea lifts 11-year ban on Thai chicken imports



South Korea has lifted an 11-year ban on frozen-chicken imports from Thailand, which sees a 6-7% rise in chicken exports this year.


The Royal Thai Embassy in Seoul said the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs had confirmed the lifting of the ban, which was imposed in 2004 when Thailand's poultry farms suffered from outbreaks of avian influenza.


The Thai state-owned Mass Communication Organization of Thailand, or MCOT, reported on Wednesday that the lifting of the ban was relayed by Thai embassy officials in South Korea to Thai Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya.


This development came in the wake of a report released by the Kasikorn Research Centre that Thailand is expected to export more frozen chicken this year following the outbreaks of bird flu in several countries-including China, Japan, the Netherlands, the US, Canada, Britain, Germany, Egypt and Nigeria-since late last year.


The report noted that several countries had banned chickens from certain producing countries, helping push Thailand's exports of chicken and its products this year if the deadly disease does not occur in the country.


Confidence in Thai chicken is expected to get further boost from the lifting of the South Korean ban, Minister Petipong said.


He added that the export of frozen chicken to South Korea should resume in June. 


Before the outbreaks, in 2002, the country exported 42,580 tonnes of frozen chicken worth 2.23 billion baht (US$68.4 million in today's exchange rate) to South Korea.


Petipong said Thailand's exports of frozen chicken should increase by 40,000 tonnes if only because of South Korea's lifting of the ban.


Both Petipong and the Kasikorn Research Centre said that the country's exports of frozen and processed chickens this year could to rise 6-7% to 600,000 tonnes worth Bt82 billion ($2.5 billion), up from 560,000 tonnes, or 4.5%, from last year.

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