WASHINGTON – At a US Trade Representative hearing on June 19, The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) asked that Thailand’s preferential access to the US market be revoked or reduced if it does not end its ban on American pork.

Currently, Thailand bans pork produced with ractopamine, a feed ingredient that NPPC said promoted leanness in food animals. Ractopamine is banned in a number of countries, but the NPPC cited the ingredient was safely approved by numerous scientific assessments by world health organizations

“Thailand takes full advantage of special US trade benefits, contributing significantly to its large trade surplus with the United States,” testified Maria Zieba, NPPC’s director of international affairs. “It does so while imposing a completely unjustified virtual ban on imports of US pork. President Trump has called for reciprocity in our trading relationship with other countries, but there is no reciprocity at all in our trading relationship with Thailand when it comes to pork.”

Thailand benefits from the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which gives duty-free treatment to certain goods entering the United States. The program allows for removal of a country’s benefits if it fails to provide the United States “equitable and reasonable access” to its market.

The NPPC produced a petition in May to the USTR to review Thailand’s eligibility for the US GSP program. A letter signed by more than 40 members of the House of Representatives was also sent to Thailand’s ambassador to the United States, to remove the restrictions on imports of US farm products, including pork.