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December 20, 2014

Thailand

Shrimp Farming Recovering, But Other Problems Remain

 

Shrimp farmers have succeeded in adjusting their farming methods to curb the effects of early mortality syndrome, which has drastically reduced production over the past three years.  Consequently, the industry is expected to recover in 2015.  On December 18, 2014, the Thai Shrimp Association (TSA) forecast that Thai shrimp production would recover to between 250,000 and 300,000 metric tons in 2015, with exports of 180,000 to 200,000 tons worth around $2.35 billion.  Somsak Paneetatyasai, president of TSA, said, “Prices are likely to remain stable next year because global demand for shrimp is large.”  He said the shrimp industry was expected to end 2014 with production of 230,000 tons and exports of 150,000 to 160,000 tons, worth about $1.8 billion.  In the first 10 months of 2014, Thailand exported 130,000 tons of shrimp, down 26% from 2013, valued at $1.6 billion, down by 8% from 2013.  Before the disease, Thailand produced 500,000 to 600,000 tons of shrimp annually.

 

Somsak said on January 1, 2015, Thailand will lose its tax privileges under the Generalized System of Preferences in the European Union, which will cause its EU tariffs on shrimp to rise from 4% to 12%.  To ease the impact from the increase in tariffs, the TSA is urging the government to accelerate free trade talks with the EU.

 

In June 2014, the USA State Department downgraded Thailand to its lowest status, Tier 3, in its 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for not fully complying with minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.  After being listed as Tier 2 for four years, Thailand joined Syria, Iran, North Korea and 17 other nations in Tier 3.  Somsak said, “We’ve explained that the shrimp industry has nothing to do with forced or child labor because shrimp production is farm-based.  Nonetheless, the government should tackle these allegations as soon as possible.”  The TIP report contains no mechanism for imposing trade barriers, but the report could affect lending to Thailand because the USA could pressure international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank not to lend to Thailand.

 

Source: Bangkok Post.  Shrimp Industry “Has Turned the Corner.”  Phusadee Arunmas.  December 19, 2014.

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