Imported chicken
eating out local share
Poultry producers demand
an increase in Customs fees
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Poultry production reached 75 million heads of chicken in 2015, increasing from 60 million in 2013, according to the Syndicate of Poultry Producers. However, around 24 million heads, equivalent to 12,000 tons of chicken breasts are imported annually.

Haytham Nawam, Vice Chairman of the Syndicate, said: “Local farmers and poultry companies have the ability to meet all market demand for chicken.” Most poultry companies, such as Hawa Chicken, Tanmia, Wilco, and Snagro, have plans to expand their farms and slaughterhouses to increase production.

Nawam said that poultry producers are damaged from the imported chicken entering the market at lower prices, especially since Customs duty placed on chicken breasts is just LL2,000 ($1.3). Around 85 percent is imported from Brazil and Ukraine and the rest from Arab countries. Nawam said: “Out cost is higher, because Brazil cultivates its own fodder and has better growing techniques.”

Gaby Dekermenjian, Chairman of the Syndicate of Exporters and Importers of Meat, Fish, and Frozen Vegetables, said local producers are not registering losses, but they want to increase their profit margins.

The Syndicate of Poultry Producers is requesting to add Customs fees on imports by imposing LL4,000 fees on chicken breasts. Nawam said that there is no trade agreement signed with Brazil, so the State may impose additional Customs fees to protect local production.

Dekermenjian said that adopting this trade barrier will harm the purchasing power of consumers, forcing them to buy chicken products at higher prices.

Nawam said that this measure will not drive companies to monopolize the market or increase prices, because the Government already sets ceiling for the retail price of chicken per kilogram, which is LL 6,900 ($4.6).

The Syndicate of Poultry Producers showed its flexibility to decreasing the ceiling price, as it is already selling the kilogram of chicken at a lower price, not exceeding $1.3 at the farm, while the cost of one kilogram is $1.6 percent. Nawam said that poultry farmers started registering losses due to the entrance of imported chicken.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Mar 11, 2016