Gloomy prospect for Thai shrimp exports to EU

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BANGKOK, July 3 – Thai shrimp breeders have called on the European Union to review the cutting of the Generalised System Preferences (GSP) for Thai processed shrimps.

A group of breeders, led by the Thai Shrimp Association (TSA), submitted a letter to an EU envoy, complaining that Thai shrimp exports will be subject to 20 per cent duty, a sharp increase from the current 7 per cent, when the revised GSP privileges schedule takes effect on January 1, 2014.

TSA chairman Somsak Panitatyasai, said the Thai shrimp industry has been severely hit by the infectious early mortality syndrome (EMS) since late last year, slashing domestic shrimp production by 50 per cent.

This year’s total shrimp production will be about 250,000 tonnes, down from the normal volume of 500,000-550,000 tonnes, he said.

“The EMS infection has hit the local shrimp industry while the cut of GSP privileges by EU will worsen the country’s exports and affect at least 1.5 million breeders,” he said.

Thai shrimp exports to EU in the first five months of this year were 12,548 tonnes or Bt3.696 billion, a drop by 38 per cent in volume and 34 per cent in value compared to the corresponding period of last year.

According to the Eurostat report, the EU imported 704,162 tonnes of shrimp, including 50,021 tonnes from Thailand, last year.