The move has prompted members of the US House of Representatives to send a letter to the ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the US, Virachai Plasai, expressing concerns over unfair trade restrictions placed on US goods.
The letter, which has been signed by 44 members, warned that if significant progress was not made, then the US would consider suspending some of Thailand’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits in order to ensure better compliance with the letter and spirit of the eligibility criteria.
Thailand is the second-largest user of the GSP program, with US$3.9 billion in US imports from Thailand benefiting from GSP tariff savings in 2016. The program allows Thailand to receive duty-free treatment to certain goods entering the US.
“It’s time for Thailand to end its unwarranted ban on US pork,” said Jim Heimerl, president of the National Pork Producers Council. “We thank Representatives Young and Kind for leading this call to action on behalf of American pork producers and other farmers.”
The US has been aiming to break trade barriers after finalising technical details for American pork to be imported into Argentina for the first time since 1992, while the US was also given approval to export pork into Paraguay in March.
In GlobalMeatNews’ State of the Industry survey, the US had a record year in terms of pig meat trade volumes, according to the US Meat Export Federation. In 2017, pork exports totalled 2.45 million metric tonnes, breaking the 2016 record by 6%.