Pork industry representatives have been working closely with the US government for years to pressure Thailand into dropping its trade restrictions on pork imports.
US President Donald Trump hosted Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha at the White House on 2 October, but the two leaders did not discuss a deal on pork, according to reports in Thailand.
However, the Trump administration has been praised by a pork industry representative, who asked to remain anonymous, for trying to address the impasse.
Trump on ‘great’ Thailand
The representative said Thailand received big preferential trade benefits for some products it shipped to the US under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Generalised System of Preferences. This scheme offers developing countries the opportunity to export certain products at low or zero tariff rates.
Thailand is starting to pay attention to this, although no big breakthrough in market access is thought to be on the table, according to the source.
Thailand bans pork from pigs fed the growth-enhancing drug ractopamine and does not import uncooked pork or pork offal.
After Trump and Chan-o-Cha met, the US president said trade between the two countries was growing in importance. “I do want to say that our relationship on trade - and we've been negotiating very long and hard, and we're meeting with our representatives in a little while to go further - is becoming more and more important,” said Trump. “It's a great country to trade with; they make products and different things that are really very important to us and we, likewise, sell to you.”