It claimed that Iraq retracted a recent major increase in Customs tax, only to halt all full chicken imports from Turkey as of 8 April.
Müjdat Sezer, chairman of the Turkish Poultry Promotion Group, part of the country’s Ministry of Economy, told GlobalMeatNews: "Iraq decided to stop all imports of full chickens from Turkey. We don’t know the reason yet, but we’re currently investigating the situation with the Iraqi ministry. It’s likely that Iraq is trying to preserve its domestic production of poultry." Sezer went on to clarify that, so far, Iraq continues to accept imports of chicken pieces from Turkey.
However, Sezer remained positive about the situation. He said: "I think this problem will be solved, but it will take a little time. The Iraqi market is very changeable and doesn’t make long-term decisions in the usual way of most countries. I’m optimistic about the outcome."
BESD-BIR (Beyaz Et Sanayicileri ve Damızlıkçıları Birliği Derneği Çetin Emeç Bulvarı), the Turkish Poultry and Meat Producers Association, declined to speak to GlobalMeatNews about the issue, stating only that the "solution to the [Customs duty] problem in Iraq was related to some bureaucratic and diplomatic issues".
Iraq had previously increased its Customs tax on Turkish poultry significantly, from US$35 per tonne to US$295 per tonne, with the new tax taking effect in northern Iraq in late February 2015.
The substantial increase had been causing great concern among Turkish poultry exporters. Iraq is Turkey’s biggest market for poultry exports and Turkey currently has the world’s fourth-largest poultry and poultry product exporter. In 2014, UN commodity trade data showed that Turkish producers exported around 227,000 tonnes of poultry to Iraq, generating around US$443 million in receipts.
While the increased tax was in place, there had been serious concerns among Turkish producers that they might risk losing their biggest market to Brazilian or Iranian competitors, according to a previous statement from Sait Koca, head of BESD-BIR, published in Hurriyet Daily News, the Turkey-based newspaper.