Thai producers fight US pork imports

Pig producers in Thailand are fighting attempts by the United States to export pork to the country.

The Thai Swine Raisers Association, which represents 250,000 pig farmers nationwide, is writing to the country’s Trade Negotiations Department and the US Embassy to oppose any attempt to force Thailand to open its market to US pork and pork products.

“We insist that pork imports from the US are prohibited as they will seriously damage the pig-farming industry in Thailand,” the president of the association, Surachai Sutthitham, said. “If we know that US pork will be shipped to any port and in any container, we will join forces to prevent the product from entering the market.”

The US has been pressurizing Thailand to accelerate negotiations on allowing US pork into the Thai market. In particular, it has offered to tackle the use of beta-agonists, which make meat redder, as this chemical is not permitted for use in Thailand.

The association insists that enough swine are produced locally for domestic consumption. Sometimes there is even an oversupply and pork needs to be exported.

Mr Sutthitham also pointed to the effects imports had on the market in Vietnam.

“After the US gained access to the pork market, Vietnamese swine raisers had to shut down as they could not compete with the lower prices of US product,” he said.

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