Shrimp exports threatened by US, Australian trade rules02 January 2007
THAILAND - The Fisheries Department said that it is closely monitoring the introduction of new health and safety standards in the United States and Australia as they may hamper Thai shrimp exports to two major Thai markets.
Walmart, the US retail giant, the single largest buyer of Thai shrimp, taking up 90 per cent of shrimp exports to the US, recently ordered its suppliers to get aquaculture certification from an independent body, according to Fisheries Department director-general Jaranthada Karnasuta.
The Missouri-based Aquaculture Certification Council will certify whether imported supplies meet the social, environmental and food safety standards by inspecting not only shrimp hatcheries, but also farms and processing plants in foreign countries.
Such measures could potentially affect export prices, making Thai produce less competitive, Mr. Jaranthada said.
He added that the Fisheries Department was negotiating for lower certification fees and would ask the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to look into the standardization of food safety guidelines since a review of existing standards for fresh and frozen prawn exports reveals that there is wide latitude from market to market.
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