July 19, 2007

 

Agreement may help Thailand export more shrimps to Japan

 

 

Thailand is hopeful that its new agreement with Japan would bring on more shrimp and broiler exports to the country as tariffs are brought down or removed.

 

Thailand's agricultural exports are expected to benefit considerably from the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) with tariffs on processed tuna, chilled and frozen chicken, cooked chicken gradually being reduced.

 

Japan has long been a major market for Thailand's agricultural exports.

 

Thailand's shrimp output rose by a healthy 36.8 percent during 2006, compared to an increase of 8.9 percent for world production.

 

The reason for the increase was due to the fact that many Thai prawn farms had switched to the white variety which could be easily raised. Production cost for the white shrimp was also found to be lower than that of the previously popular black tiger prawns. Moreover, more Thai prawn farmers had learned the correct techniques for raising the white prawns.

 

However, the strengthening Thai baht and the anti-dumping duties imposed by the US served as two major obstacles for the Thai shrimp industry.

 

Still for 2006, exports of chilled and frozen prawns, processed prawns and other prawn products, grew 11.1 percent in volume and 8.2 percent in value.

 

The higher quality of Thai shrimp and the disease problems other countries like China and Vietnam ran into also helped exports.

 

Total Thai shrimp import by the US, in particular, went up 17.6 percent last year, despite the duties. 

 

Thailand's chilled and frozen prawn and processed prawn exports to the Japanese market declined steadily from THB 17,977.7 million in 2002 to THB 15,529.7 million in 2005 and THB 13,401.9 million in 2006.

 

The kingdom's share of the Japanese import shrimp market also fell from 23.6 percent in 2003 to 17.7 percent  in 2006.

 

The fall was attributed to the strong Thai baht and more competition from Vietnam, China and other countries who focused on Japan after being slapped with the anti-dumping duties from the US.

 

The Japanese markets also preferred large black tiger prawns, while Thailand had switched over to the white variety.

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