On December 25, 2013, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries notified Thailand's Agricultural Affairs Office that Japan would immediately reopen its market to imports of Thai frozen uncooked chicken. Thailand’s uncooked chicken was banned in January 2004 when an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) bird-flu was detected.

The following is a summary of Thailand’s current poultry production situation.

In 2013, Thailand’s chicken production is expected to show a little stagnation because of the exit of Saha Farms (SF), one of the largest poultry operations in the country, from the Thai poultry market. SF’s departure is expected to enable the rest of Thailand’s poultry producers to increase their production, although it will just be enough to fill the void left by SF. Post estimates Thailand’s 2013 poultry production to remain at similar levels as the previous year and will unlikely meet the high export demand. Total chicken meat exports (both uncooked and cooked products), accordingly, are estimated to decline to 520,000 metric tons (MT) from 538,000 MT in 2012.

Trade sources indicate that increased market access for uncooked products to Japan should spur growth for Thai chicken exports in 2014. Anticipated economic growth in Japan and the European Union are also expected to fuel demand for Thai poultry products. Total exports in 2014 are forecast to rise by 12 percent to 580,000 MT. Thailand’s broiler production in 2014 should grow by 6-7 percent in line with the increased export opportunities.

According to the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, the resumption of Thai poultry exports to Japan should not affect the U.S. market share of Japan’s poultry market. Industry sources claimed that Thailand’s presence will instead capture market share from Brazil since product lines from the two countries are similar (i.e. boneless fancy cuts while nearly all of U.S. products exported to Japan are bone-in chicken)