South Korea lifts import ban on Thai frozen chicken

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BANGKOK, Feb 10 – South Korea has decided to lift its 11-year ban on importing frozen chicken from Thailand, a move which is expected to push chicken exports of the country to grow by 6-7 per cent this year.

The Royal Thai Embassy in Seoul has received a confirmation of the decision from South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, according to Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya.

The ministry’s decision followed its risk assessment on poultry imported from Thailand, he said.

Thailand, however, is asked to draft and publicise its export terms for the product and to certify slaughterhouses for chicken exports to South Korea, he noted.

Mr Petipong said the export of frozen chicken to South Korea should resume in June for the first time in 11 years.

Exports were suspended in 2004 due to outbreaks of avian influenza in Thailand.

The country exported 42,580 tonnes of frozen chicken worth 2.23 billion baht to South Korea in 2002.

Mr Petipong said he has instructed the Department of Livestock Development and other concerned agencies to speed up drafting the export terms and disease control regulations for slaughterhouses.

The minister said Thailand’s exports of frozen chicken would increase by 40,000 tonnes a year, thanks to South Korea’s removal of the ban.

He added that the country’s chicken exports this year is projected to rise 6-7 per cent to 600,000 tonnes worth Bt82,000 million, up from 560,000 tonnes from the previous year.