The EU had initially planned to ban imports of Thai vegetables, according to a report in the Bangkok Post, following the discovery of produce infested with whiteflies, thrips and leaf miners.
The union has since softened its stance on the condition Thailand inspect all shipments of 16 suspect vegetable types to the region, effective from January, reported the newspaper.
EU ambassador to Thailand David Lipman said, however, if the country failed to comply with the standards it would have a ban placed on exports to EU countries.
Thai Fruit and Vegetable Producers Association Paethom Taenkam told the newspaper he was yet to be informed as to what the EU’s requirements would entail, but believed they would specify all produce be completely free from insect contamination.
“We’re worried about this EU requirement. If we cannot comply, it means a ban,” he said. “We have about 200 vegetable exporters, many of them traders without their own farms or packing factories, and that makes it difficult to control contamination,” he added.
The Agricultural Department could introduce standards for vegetable shipments to the EU, which could then be used to screen out exporters unable to comply, he told the newspaper.
Fruit and vegetable exports to the EU could decline this year to Bt4-4.5bn, down from Bt7bn last year, because of the strict inspection measures.