By Max Fisher, Director of Economics and Government Relations
According to a Nov. 3 report from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Thailand’s ban on glyphosate and other chemicals incited widespread controversy in the country and potentially will shut down imports of several agricultural products.
Thailand’s National Hazardous Substance Committee (NHSC) on Oct. 22 acted to ban two chemical herbicides – glyphosate and paraquat – as well as the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Subsequently, Thai farmers have filed a petition with the Administrative Court against three government entities, including the NHSC, a committee at the Ministry of Public Health that initiated the ban campaign in 2017, and the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives. In addition, Thai farmers have requested that the court overrule the government’s ban because they maintain the process used to ban the chemicals was non-transparent, illegally conducted and not science-based.
If the government continues with the ban, it is expected to take effect on Dec. 1 and become fully effective on Dec. 30.
In its recent report, FAS said the ban, which will include chemical residues on food, will affect U.S. agricultural exports to Thailand, especially soybeans, wheat, beans and pulses, fruit, vegetables, and other produce items intended for human consumption.
For 2019, Thailand is the world’s sixth largest soybean importer at 3.4 million metric tons (MMT), the 19th largest wheat importer at 3.1 MMT, and the 28th largest corn importer at 0.9 MMT.