Licence launch for poultry export

Companies importing and exporting cooked and partially prepared poultry from Brazil and Thailand will be required to have licences from 1 July, otherwise they will have to pay full duty.

The new requirements with their complicated quotas have been very disruptive to trade in the past six months to a year, according to Liz Murphy, secretary general of the International Meat Trade Association.

"The rules have just been announced and some buyers of these products and their customers may be unaware that these are coming into force in July," she said.

The EU rules now have specific quotas relating to cooked chicken, salted chicken and seasoned turkey products, following negotiations with Brazil and Thailand. Details of specific quota arrangements have yet to be published.

Importers or exporters will have to show they have imported or exported 50t of poultry meat in each of the two 12 months preceding application for a licence.

Processors wishing to qualify for meeting these quotas will be required by the Rural Payments Agency to provide proof that, in two 12-month periods prior to the application, they have processed at least 1,000t of poultry meat, in order to obtain a licence for a importing a minimum of 100t up to a maximum of 10% of the quantity available for each quarter.

Both groups will also be required to obtain a certificate of origin from someone in the exporting country to show that the quantities involved are within required quotas.

Companies with licences to import or export poultry products from Brazil and Thailand will pay a reduced duty of around 8% until the EU quota is met.

Those without licences will be subject to full duty, which some could see as a restriction on trade, Murphy said. "There is no growth allowance and people who use chicken products could find themselves in a totally different system."

EU and UK farmers could see it as an attempt to level the playing field, which they have argued has resulted in the market being flooded with product coming in at relatively low duty, just because it has been pumped with very miniscule doses of salt to circumvent paying the higher tariff required for fresh or frozen meat.

Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council said he was pleased that there was an upper limit and, once it was reached, companies would pay a higher levy.

However, his members would have preferred the EU to stipulate higher quantities as a requirement for a licence and some security from applicants in terms of payment to cut the speculative element, which may not sell the products to the people who need it.

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