There’s no shortage of global markets to investigate for potential U.S. pork sales and most recently, Nick Giordano, National Pork Producers Council vice president and counsel for international affairs travelled to Thailand. The goal was to visit with government officials to discuss Thailand’s restrictions on U.S. pork exports.

This market has been a challenge as Thailand limits pork imports in three ways, NPPC points out.

1)      Thailand will not accept pork from swine that has received the feed additive ractopamine. It’s important to note that ractopamine is a safe product that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by the relevant authorities in 26 other countries.

“There is no scientific evidence that supports Thailand’s protectionist policy on ractopamine,” NPPC notes.

2)      The country discriminates against imported pork by assessing an inspection fee of five Baht per kilogram, which amounts to about $162 per metric ton. However Thailand assesses just a $15-inspection requirement on domestic pork. As NPPC explains, under World Trade Organization rules, a nation may charge an import inspection fee, but it must reflect the cost of the inspection.

“In the case of pork in Thailand, the charge is excessive and discriminates against imports in violation of WTO rules,” NPPC contends.

3)      The Thai Department of Livestock and Development rarely, if ever, grants import licenses for U.S. pork, other than cooked pork. “The government has never provided reasoning for the arbitrary import permit refusals,” NPPC notes.  

NPPC is working to get all three restrictions removed.

As for market potential for U.S. pork exports, Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University economist, estimates that eliminating these barriers would result in an additional $30 million to $35 million in annual sales.

Source: NPPC