Thai chicken exports to EU hinge on government talks

Dr. Anan Sirimongkolkasem

The Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association has urged the government to take the lead in negotiating with the European Union to ensure Thai broiler exports to the EU are fairly treated, according to Dr Anan Sirimongkolkasem, president.

Broiler exports to the EU have slowed down due to cancelled orders as a result of Covid-19. Furthermore, EU-based groups such as the Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade and the European Live Poultry and Poultry Hatching Egg Association are asking the European Commission to trim import quotas for Brazil, Thailand and the Ukraine by up to 850,000 tonnes to cope with excess supply. 

Producers in the EU are also struggling with shrinking demand which has become a common issue everywhere. 

The European Commission needs to consider if the petition is sound with no implications for hindering fair trade. The only way out is state-to-state negotiations to find a mutually acceptable solution for both parties, Dr Anan said.

The Association forecasts 960,000 tonnes of exports, worth 111 billion baht in 2020. 

The speed at which the market recovers will depend on how the Covid-19 pandemic is managed around the world, he added.

In the first three months of 2020, Thai broiler exports have grown 3-4% year-on-year, although many importers have since imposed lockdown measures to contain Covid-19. 

There is strong growth potential elsewhere, however, with China recently approving another seven local processing plants for exporting to China, putting the total number of China-certified facilities to 17. The newly approved plants will begin sending shipments in Q3.

China is set to become Thailand’s 3rd largest importer. At present, Japan is the top customer with annual imports of around 438,000 tonnes, followed by the EU with 320,000 tonnes. Shipments to China will increase to 90,000 tonnes in 2020, up from 50,000 tonnes in 2019. The rest of the world accounts for 196,000 tonnes.