July 24, 2008


Hong Kong's poultry traders unwilling to end trade despite government offer


Just about one-third of poultry retailers surrendered their licences three days prior to a government deadline offering HK$1.1 billion (US$141 million) to the industry to end the trade.


However, according to The Standard, the chairman of the Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers and Retailers Association expects the government to succeed in getting a larger percentage to do so.


Owners are not likely to make a decision until the last minute due to differences of opinion with stall operators, said Steven Wong Wai- chuen of the association. However, he expects at least 80 percent to surrender their licences in the end.


He said that most differences can be seen between stall owners and the operators. Operators want to continue, even with the ban on keeping live poultry overnight, but stall owners favor a buyout.


Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said that if a lesser percentage of retailers agree by Thursday to surrender their licenses, the government will withdraw its HK $1.1 billion offer to close the live poultry trade.


The overnight ban would continue anyway, he said.


"Although the industry has to make certain adjustments, like taking advance orders from customers or making a careful calculation of the daily demand, we can still maintain a constant supply of between 30,000 and 35,000 chickens a day with the price of chickens remaining very stable."


The buy-out offer would not be adjusted, he said, as it was approved by the Executive and Legislative

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