The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has alleviated an embargo on imports of canned tuna fish from Thailand, under the condition that the product be free of genetically modified (GM) ingredients.
In March 2000, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Commerce had banned the tinned tuna from Thailand, when it was discovered that the soya-bean in its preparation was made from genetically modified seeds. Authorities told traders and importers that they should not import canned tuna fish containing such oil, the Bangkok Post reported.
The Ministry today announced that tuna processors in Thailand would bear the expenses of product testing to be conducted at least four times a year by a team approved by the Saudi Kingdom.
A Thai Commerce Ministry official commented that the Ministry had not yet received the formal report from Saudi Arabia, but he remarked that it would be a positive sign for the Thai tuna industry worth more than 200 billion baht per year.
The Thai tuna industry's sales to Saudi Arabia were valued at 1.4 billion baht in 1999.
The Thai Agriculture Ministry currently boasts three laboratories to check whether raw materials and finished products contain GM ingredients. The laboratories will take approximately 15 days to test the samples and declare the results, at a cost of nearly 1,600 baht per sample. Certificates for non-GM products will be issued to meet the requirements of foreign tuna customers.
The official Saudi Press Agency also announced on June 6, the removal of a ban on Danish dairy products, but that the import of Danish beef is still forbidden. – albawaba.com
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )