Thailand's poultry exporters could earn as much as Bt10 billion (US$322.14 million) in extra income in 2012 after the European Union's decision to lift its eight-year ban on the imports of fresh chicken meat from Thailand, effective July 1.

The ban lift came from the country's stringent measures to contain any possible bird flu outbreaks and its improved laboratory system, according to a senior official with the EU Commission. No bird flu has been reported in Thailand for more than three consecutive years.

Thailand's annual poultry quota granted by the EU is 92,610 metric tons, but it has been unable to use that quota due to the ban. The country is also trying to open the Japanese and Korean markets to increase its export volume. Current estimates put exports to the EU at 50,000 metric tons of fresh chicken meat, for Bt4 billion (US$128.86 million).