French poultry trade body, the Fédération des Industries Avicoles (FIA), has hit out at the European Commission’s decision to half subsidies granted to firms exporting frozen chickens.

The Commission has said the reduction is justified by an improvement in market conditions, which has led to an increase in exports achieved without aid.

The main beneficiaries are French firms Doux and Tilly-Sabco, which serve markets in the Near and Middle East.

Doux, in administration since June 2012, received an estimated EUR55m last year.

“The reduction (in export subsidies) is incomprehensible and threatens thousands of jobs and the future of France’s poultry sector,” the FIA said.

“The arguments put forward by the EC are unfounded. They don’t take into account the unfavourable trend in the Euro/dollar parity, the recent strong increase in ocean shipping rates, high commodity prices and market reality.

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“The EC’s decision, taken without any concertation, is de-stabilising France’s poultry sector – for whom exports represent almost 40% of its activity – and putting in immediate peril more than 5,000 direct jobs.”

A spokesman for Doux told just-food the group fully endorsed the FIA’s position.

“What we would also like to point out is that while Doux receives the export subsidies in the first instance, these are then re-distributed to poultry breeders. This aid benefits the sector as a whole,” he said.