World poultry trade is forecast to rise 3 percent in 2012, to 13 million metric tons, in spite of import restrictions put in place by several countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization's latest Food Outlook report.

Expansion is expected to be sustained by larger deliveries to Hong Kong, Vietnam and Indonesia, as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Imports by Saudi Arabia, the third-largest market after Hong Kong and Japan, will be influenced by the status of a government fodder subsidy granted to national poultry operations in 2011, the depletion of which is pushing up poultry prices and stimulating import demand. Deliveries to the Russian Federation, which was the world’s largest market until the imposition of restrictive import measures in 2008, are expected to edge up somewhat, following a World Trade Organization-induced increase in the poultry tariff-rate quota.

Rising domestic demand will continue to boost imports by African countries, in particular Egypt, Angola, Benin and Ghana, with the resultant regional dependency on imports now estimated at 24 percent of domestic consumption, compared to 18 percent in 2009, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Import growth in Latin America and the Caribbean will be led by Chile, Mexico and Venezuela. By contrast, following the imposition of anti-dumping duties on poultry originating in the U.S., China may buy less, although part of the product delivered to Hong Kong is likely to be re-exported to the mainland.

The application of anti-dumping tariffs on Brazilian product by South Africa is likely to negatively influence Brazil’s deliveries to South Africa in 2012, while improved domestic availability is forecast to depress purchases by Japan. The continued imposition by India, a minor importer, of non-tariff barriers on poultry and the resulting request by the U.S. for consultations under the dispute settlement provisions of the World Trade Organization is illustrative of the multiple constraints facing international poultry trade.

As for poultry meat exports, a return to a more favorable exchange rate may support a 2 percent increase in Brazilian shipments, despite the slow relisting of Brazilian poultry plants by the Russian Federation. Exports from Thailand will be supported by the EU’s April decision to lift an eight-year ban on raw poultry shipments by mid-year. Similarly, sales by Turkey are likely to be boosted by the granting of access to the Saudi Arabian market, after a six-year ban. Strong regional demand, particularly from Chile and Venezuela, are sustaining a steady growth in shipments from Argentina. On the other hand, limited domestic supplies and more restricted access to markets may dampen growth in the U.S. to less than 1 percent and even result in declining shipments by the EU.