QUARANTINE STANDARDS FOR COOKED CHICKEN MEAT FROM THAILAND
International Trade Negotiations
The purpose of this exercise is to simulate an international
trade negotiation designed to reduce trade restrictions between two nations.
While the factual scenario is based upon real issues,
this case is hypothetical in terms of specific stakeholders identified
and certain facts presented.
This case will include country teams, government teams,
industry association teams, and various forums including a WTO Dispute
The goals of this exercise include:
- Development of research and investigation skills;
- Development of analytical, planning, and negotiation
- Development of negotiation, mediation and conflict
- Development of durable written agreements; and,
- Development of planning and presentations skills to
various governmental and WTO panels and bodies.
Australian Quarantine Case
BACKGROUND, FACTS AND ISSUES COMMON TO ALL PARTIES
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS)
Australian Ministry of Commerce
Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
Thai Ministry of Commerce
Australian Chicken Growers Council (ACGC)
Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)
Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF)
Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC)
Australian Restaurant and Grocers Association (ARGA)
Thai Broiler Processing Exporters
Thai Chicken Growers Association
Thai Feed Producers Association
US Poultry and Egg Export Council (USPEEC)
Danish Poultry Exporters Association (DPEA)
Since mid-1980, Thailand, Denmark and the United States have
made a number of requests to export both cooked and uncooked chicken meat
to Australia. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
began considering the proposal to import chicken meat in 1990. However,
the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and domestic poultry producers
voiced concern over the introduction of Newcastle Disease and Infectious
Bursal Disease Virus (IBDV) through the imported meat. Either could pose
a great threat to Australia’s poultry industry and native bird populations.
In response to these concerns, AQIS began an assessment of the risk of
importing cooked chicken meat. It deferred assessment of uncooked meat
pending completion of the cooked meat assessment.
In mid-1995, the Australian government decided "in-principle"
to allow imports of cooked chicken that had been processed under specified
temperature/time parameters proven to inactivate the disease viruses.
To determine these specific parameters, AQIS considered a range of studies
and then adopted a 1988 study of IBDV conducted by Dr. Dennis Alexander
of the Central Veterinary Laboratory in the UK. This study, commissioned
by General Foods poultry, New Zealand, recommended 70°C for 90 minutes
and 80°C for 14.4 minutes for the inactivation of IBDV.
In 1996, AQIS published a draft protocol that set out
core temperature/time levels for processing chicken meat:
- 70°C for 95 minutes or
- 72°C for 65 minutes or
- 74°C for 44 minutes or
- 76°C for 30 minutes or
- 78°C for 21 minutes or
- 80°C for 15 minutes
In reaction to AQIS’s draft protocol, the Australian
Chicken Growers Council (ACGC) argued that AQIS’s risk assessment
underestimated the risks associated with commercial cooking processes.
For their part, Thai chicken exporters complained that the cooking regime
proposed by the Australian government was commercially impracticable.
The specified temperature/time parameters would not only unnecessarily
raise production costs, but also would affect the quality of the cooked
meat, thereby reducing the competitiveness of their products in the Australian
The issue was brought up for discussion in the Thai-Australian
Joint Commission. Subsequently, in early 1997, the Australian government
commissioned its own test by the Central Veterinary Laboratory.
In April 1997, a delegation from AQIS and the Australian
poultry industry was sent to inspect four Thai processing facilities that
had applied for the sanitary certification required for exporting to Australia.
None of the facilities met the Australian sanitary requirements; all were
told that they needed to improve their slaughter and processing facilities.
In July 1997, amid mounting protest from domestic poultry
producers, the Australian government delayed a decision to open its poultry
market to foreign imports until the Central Veterinary Laboratory completed
its second trial and submitted the results to AQIS.
In September 1997, Thailand threatened to boycott US$
1.2 billion dairy and meat exports from Australia in retaliation for a
continued ban on cooked chicken meat imports. The Australian Dairy Industry
Council called on the Australian government to abide by the WTO's rules
on non-tariff barriers and to lift quarantine barriers on imports of cooked
chicken meat to escape the boycott. National Party leader Tim Fischer
suggested the Australian government place a tariff on imported cooked
chicken meat as a transitional arrangement, which WTO provisions allow.
On 7 November 1997, the Australian government announced
a decision to allow imports of cooked chicken meat from Denmark, the United
States and Thailand processed under the following core temperature/time
- 70°C for 143 minutes or
- 72°C for 137 minutes or
- 74°C for 131 minutes or
- 76°C for 125 minutes or
- 78°C for 119.5 minutes or
- 80°C for 114 minutes
The parameters were based on the Central Veterinary Laboratory’s
new test results, which confirmed that the existing temperature/time parameters
readily inactivated Newcastle Disease Virus but would not totally inactivate
the strain of IBDV used in the tests.
But protests continued from both Thai chicken exporters and the Australian
chicken industry, and AQIS asked the Central Veterinary Laboratory to
carry out yet another round of tests. The test results, submitted to AQIS
in mid 1998, indicated that IBDV was unexpectedly resistant to heat inactivation
at temperatures lower than 74°C. These test results differed from
the previous study because it used different virus strains and a different
medium for suspending the virus. Based on these new test results, Australia
announced in June 1998 a revision of the minimum core temperatures/time
parameters as follows:
- 74°C for 165 minutes or
- 75°C for 158 minutes or
- 76°C for 152 minutes or
- 77°C for 145 minutes or
- 78°C for 138 minutes or
- 79°C for 132 minutes or
- 80°C for 125 minutes
At a meeting in September 1998, the Thai National Sanitary
and Phytosanitary Committee instructed the Livestock Department of the
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to conduct its own risk assessment
of possible IBDV-contamination in the production of cooked chicken. The
assessment is now underway and is expected to be completed in the near
future. It is designed to account for IBDV prevention programs at the
farm level; incidence of IBDV infection in Thailand; risk management for
transporting chickens from poultry farms to slaughter houses; and quality
assurance programs used by Thai chicken processing plants, including heat
treatment, packaging, and shipment methods for cooked products.
Analysis of Commercial and
Substantive Policy Issues
and International Legal Aspects of the Issue
Australia’s very stringent requirements for the heat treatment
of cooked chicken meat put Thai cooked chicken producers at an unfair
disadvantage in the Australian market. Although Australia is not now a
principal market for Thai chicken products, Thai suppliers could potentially
capture 10 percent of the Australian cooked chicken market, worth about
920 million baht (A$ 40 million), during just the first few years of exports.
The Australian poultry market is estimated at 46 billion baht (A$ 2 billion)
annually. Annual consumption of chicken meat is now 27 kg per person compared
with the consumption of beef and veal (40.0 kg per person), sheep meat
(16.8 kg per person) and pork meat (18.4 kg per person). Based on the
present trend, poultry meat could overtake beef and veal as the Australians'
most preferred meat within the next ten years. Cooked chicken meat accounts
for 20 percent of the market and sales are growing 10 to 20 percent per
Substantive Policy Issues
Infectious Bursal Disease is important from an economic viewpoint because
it could cause huge losses for chicken producers. IBDV is highly contagious
and remains infectious for several months in the poultry house environment.
To eradicate the virus, a poultry house requires effective cleansing and
Nonetheless, Australia’s imposition of stringent
quarantine standards is protectionist in nature. The proposed cooking
regime does not apply to domestically processed chicken products on the
grounds that the country is free from IBDV. Although IBDV is most prevalent
in Southeast Asia, Europe and North America, the Office International
des Epizooties (OIE) 1997 yearbook reported cases of the disease in Australia.
Thus, there is no scientific basis for granting preferential treatment
to Australian producers.
Moreover, to achieve the level of protection it considers
appropriate, AQIS has not adequately explored safety measures that are
less trade restricting than heat inactivation measures. According to Professor
Daral Jackwood, an Ohio State University expert on IBDV, the disease control
used most often is vaccination of breeder flocks. Using this method, maternal
antibodies are transferred to chicks and thereby protect the chicks for
the first two critical weeks of life, a time when infection by IBDV causes
the most immune suppression. Another study conducted by the University
of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science also confirms
that protection of chickens from IBDV can be achieved through a breeder
vaccination program, supplemented by effective biosecurity measures (control
of people, equipment and vehicles on the farm) and an effective broiler
vaccination program. Moreover, regular ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection
at the farm level can ensure that each batch of source birds is in good
health before being transported to slaughterhouses.
At the processing stage, a one week quarantine is sufficient
to ensure that the birds are IBDV-free because chickens infected with
IBDV will normally die within 4-5 days. Cooked chicken meat destined for
Australia may even be separately processed and stored. Quality assurance
programs such as HACCP introduced by Thai processing plants should also
prevent exposure of cooked products to possible recontamination.
International Legal Aspects of the Issue
Australia’s quarantine policy regarding imports of cooked chicken
violates the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary
measures in many respects.
First, it is inconsistent with Article 2.2 of the Agreement, which requires
SPS measures to be based on scientific principles. The risk assessment
undertaken by AQIS was not based on a sound scientific approach. Even
though the time and heat levels recommended for the inactivation of IBDV
were derived from a scientific trial, the use of IBDV strain CS 88 in
the test was not justified by objective evidence. AQIS and the Central
Veterinary Laboratory arbitrarily assumed that this very virulent strain
of IBDV is prevalent in Thailand. So far, no research has been done to
identify which IBDV strains exist in Thailand.
Second, Article 2.3 requires that SPS measures do not
arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between products from WTO member
countries where identical or similar conditions prevail. Despite the fact
that IBDV cases have been reported in Australia, Australian domestic producers
are not subject to the same temperature/time parameters as Thai producers.
Third, Australia’s quarantine policy is inconsistent
with the provisions of Article 6 because AQIS’s risk assessment
failed to assess the possible existence of disease-free areas and areas
of low-disease prevalence in Thailand. IBDV or some strains of the disease
may be limited only to one or more specific geographical areas in Thailand.
Therefore, chicken products coming from IBDV-free areas within Thailand
should be considered on the basis of their disease status, not that of
the rest of the country.
BACKGROUND ON CONDUCT AND
ORGANIZATION OF SIMULATION
THE NEGOTIATION PROCESS
The parties to these negotiations will be provided with individual team
instructions and facts common to each country team's interests.
Individual interest groups (e.g., associations, government
agencies, etc.) will meet first to review facts, develop team negotiating
goals and strategies, assign research and negotiating roles, and to document
all negotiating sessions.
All interest groups will then meet with their country
team members. (Country team members may or may not share common interests,
goals, etc.) Lead government agencies will seek to reconcile differences
and to advance a unified voice in the bilateral or multilateral sessions.
All teams will seek to advance specific negotiating goals
and interests. For example, it can be assumed that China seeks acceptance
in the international trading community, that it would like to avoid a
dispute in the WTO, and that it is committed to an increased level of
enforcement in the area of intellectual property rights. Similarly, it
can be assumed that the US, EU, and Swiss governments and constituent
manufacturing groups seek enforcement of IPR laws in China and greater
access to the Chinese market. Interest groups may differ, however, on
appropriate timetables, implementation mechanisms, and enforcement.
All parties will want to consider some or all of the following:
- Documentation of the scope of the problem;
- Specific agreements to implement reforms including.
but not limited to rules, regulations, monitoring devices, enforcement
mechanisms, legal remedies, etc;
- Timetables for implementation of agreements reached;
- Criteria in the field of IPR for Chinese accession
to the WTO.
It will also be important to determine the interests of
your counterparts including adversaries and allies. You will want to try
to build alliances within your country and with other country governments
or individual interest groups.
CONFIDENTIAL PARTY INSTRUCTIONS
Each individual team (interest group) will be provided with further confidential
instructions issued from the perspective of a superior corporate, governmental,
or military officer. You are to design your negotiating strategy in accord
with the instructions. Questions regarding instructions or the terms of
agreements reached can be reviewed with one of the instructors.
NEGOTIATING SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES
- Teams should engage in "brainstorming" sessions
to identify and articulate your interests and those of your counterparts
including the listing of potential OPTIONS for an agreement and the
use of OBJECTIVE CRITERIA for the structuring and implementation of
- Teams should elect a LEAD NEGOTIATOR for each negotiating
session. It is important for team members to defer to a lead negotiator
and to SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE. Lead negotiators may invite the participation
of team members on specific issues, areas of expertise, etc.
- Teams should use CAUCUSES (private team meetings) to
review proposals, formulate counter-proposals, or to review the status
of the negotiations; Remember to LISTEN to your counterparts and ASK
QUESTIONS to learn what their needs are. What do they want? Can you
fashion an agreement or the provision of an agreement that will meet
some if not all of their needs? Are your sessions CONFIDENTIAL or open
to the press and public? Craft and utilize SINGLE TEXT DOCUMENTS to
introduce proposed language on agreements, to capture agreements on
procedure and/or substance that can be added to the text of a final
agreement; Obtain SIGNATURES of counterparts on documents reflecting
interim or final agreements; Consider future meetings, working groups,
investigative teams, etc as means to keep the process moving forward
and to avoid stalemates. Remember you are dealing with people. What
are their needs within their organization, bureaucracy, company, etc.
Can you help them to meet their needs? Establish a personal rapport.
Be hard on the problem, be soft on the people. Consider a JOINT MEDIA
RELEASE OR CONFERENCE to announce progress or a final agreement. Use
the media to help solidify the parties' public commitment to the agreement.
RULES TO ENHANCE THE LEARNING GOALS OF THE SIMULATION
Because time is extremely limited, the instructors request that students
abide by the following rules which have proven effective in other negotiation
- Limit caucus sessions and breaks during negotiations
to no more than five (5) minutes;
- Country teams will have to negotiate an internal consensus
among all interest groups BEFORE the commencement of official bilateral
negotiations with national counterparts.
- The parties will not be authorized to "walk-out"
or otherwise boycott a negotiation session;
- If negotiating teams reach an "impasse" (stalemate,
dead-end, end point) they should work on another issue and/or seek the
- No name calling, personal attacks, or insults will
be permitted. (This is not good style in real world negotiations and
is usually the result of ego, loss of emotional control, etc.)
- Make use of charts, note-taking, printed exhibits,
and printed documents to facilitate the recording of interim and/or
LOCATION OF THE NEGOTIATIONS
As negotiating sessions are established, a home country will be identified.
The home country should serve as the host of the negotiations. Hosts should
welcome guests to their country and to the negotiation session. Introductions
should be made before the parties proceed to substantive matters