Imports of poultry meat were down 16% in the first quarter of 2006. However, exports also decreased by 9% as a result of third country restrictions. A number of these embargoes will end shortly which should improve the market situation further.
A change to the representative price for poultry has been agreed, but no changes to exports refunds were announced at the meeting. There was an exchange of views on a draft Commission regulation concerning the provision of exceptional market support measures in the poultry meat sector following the outbreaks of avian influenza in the EU. A majority of 22 of the 25 Member States voted in favour of the draft regulation.
* The German government has committed Euro10m for research into effective methods of destroying the avian flu virus in birds. Various action plans have been suggested to cope with the virus, including outdoor bans during the spring and autumn migratory seasons, regular testing of commercial flocks, development of an early warning system and financial aid for the worst affected poultry producers.