United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned the import of ‘chilled fresh meat’ from Pakistan via sea starting on October 10. No restriction has been placed on exports via air. Sources say that the ban has been imposed citing concerns about the quality of products exported by an undisclosed Pakistani company.
Pakistan currently exports meat valued at approximately $144 million annually to the UAE.
In a notification issued by the UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, it was stated that as of October 10, 2023, the import of fresh chilled meat from Pakistan to the UAE by sea will not be allowed.
However, there are no restrictions on meat exports via air transportation, provided that the meat is vacuum-packed or modified atmosphere-packed and has a shelf life of 60 to 120 days from the date of slaughter.
As of the time of reporting, Pakistan’s commerce ministry had not responded to multiple attempts to obtain a comment on this matter.
Faisal Hussain, the CEO of the Karachi-based Organic Meat Company Limited (TOMCL), a prominent meat importer, expressed concerns that this “partial ban” would adversely affect Pakistan’s overall meat export figures.
He pointed out that Pakistan’s export volume for meat would decrease significantly, as the country would only be able to export what can be sent via air, and air transportation has limitations and is more expensive. This, in turn, could jeopardize Pakistan’s market presence in the UAE, which it had built up over time in competition with other countries.
An internal memo from TOMCL mentioned that the restriction was imposed because another meat exporter (unnamed in the memo) had shipped sub-quality fresh chilled meat to the UAE via sea.
Pakistan is recognized as one of the world’s largest meat producers and has experienced rapid growth in meat exports over the past decade, taking advantage of its competitive position to supply meat to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
In January 2023, Pakistan’s bovine meat exports reached $31 million, marking a 29 percent increase compared to the $24 million recorded during the same period in 2022, as reported by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).