Thu, Mar 04, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Czech Republic to lift ban on imports of Taiwan chicken

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Czech Republic has agreed to lift the ban on Taiwanese poultry imports and Saudi Arabia is considering importing chickens from Taiwan in the near future, according to the Council of Agriculture.

At a meeting of a task force established to prevent and control infectious animal diseases, which was co-chaired by Minister without Portfolio Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正) and council Chairman Lee Ching-lung (李金龍), officials said that recent promotion of Taiwanese poultry products overseas was receiving a positive response from many countries.

Council officials yesterday stressed that Taiwan had no cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has been wreaking havoc in neighboring countries since January. However, the discovery of the less virulent H5N2 strain led to many countries banning Taiwanese poultry products.

According to council Vice Chairman Hu Fu-hsiung (胡富雄), the Czech Republic would lift its ban soon.

"Following this satisfying case, we will further work on promoting Taiwanese poultry products overseas," Hu said.

Hu said that 18 countries and areas were being targeted. Statistics show that Japan takes 80 percent of Taiwanese chicken and duck exports and Hong Kong 10 percent. Hu said the government would press Japan and Hong Kong to lift their bans.

Saudi Arabia had been looking for new sources of poultry products since the outbreak of bird flu in Thailand, which was a major chicken supplier to the country, he said.

Hu said that officials might be dispatched to Saudi Arabia to seek business opportunities.

This is a good opportunity for Taiwan to expand its overseas markets while other Asian suppliers' deal with their bird flu outbreaks, he said. These areas include South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Hong Kong.

The council's Animal and Plant Inspection and Quarantine Bureau is continuing to monitor areas in which chicken farms affected by H5N2 are located.

In Chiayi County, four affected farms and 76 others located within a 3km radius passed tests on Tuesday.

Chiayi agriculture officials said that the monitoring would last for six months.

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