Thai shrimp exporters fear new health rules in Australia

MCOT | 8 February 2007

Thai shrimp exporters fear new health rules in Australia

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A man holds a placard during a protest over a ban on Thai shrimp outside the Australia embassy in Bangkok February 13, 2007. Australia banned all prawn and shrimp imports on Monday at the request of the state of Queensland after detecting white spot syndrome virus in a number of shipments from Thailand, local media reported.

BANGKOK, Feb 8 (TNA) — Thai shrimp farmers have urged the government to speed up negotiations with Australia over its proposed health and safety standard before it comes into effect on February 21.

Dr Surapol Pratuangtum, president of the Thai Marine Shrimp Farmers’ Association, said he feared the new measure would act as another technical barrier for shrimp exports from Thailand, the largest supplier in the Australian market.

Australia has recently released a draft import risk analysis (IRA) paper about new standards imposed on shrimp imports. It requires certifications to guarantee that Thai shrimp products are free from marine diseases.

Earlier, Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives said that it would set up an ad hoc working group to prepare information on Thai shrimp and farming standards for submission to Biosecurity Australia before the new rules are enacted later this month.

Dr Surapol urged the Thai authorities to speed up the talk as time was running short. He said Thai shrimp has gained a significant market share in Australia in recent years as its quality, taste and price is superior to rival products.

The new standards would put a brake on the industry’s growth, he said, adding that about 30 domestic shrimp farmers in Australia would be key beneficiaries.

Despite the free trade agreement between the two countries, Thai shrimp continues to face mounting trade restrictions, Dr Surapol said.(TNA)-E110

source: MCOT