South Africa, US agree on terms for poultry imports
CAPE TOWN: South Africa has signed an agreement with the United States to resume import of 65,000 tons of chicken each year, which had become bogged down over health concerns, the government said on Tuesday. The veterinary trade protocol comes after the US threatened to suspend trade benefits for South African farm products earlier this month, in retaliation against the clamp down on poultry imports. South Africa has been concerned that an outbreak of avian flu in the United States which killed nearly 50 million birds could pose animal and human health risks to Africa’s most advanced economy. “We are on track to resolving the outstanding issues related to beef and meat. The chicken protocol shows we are moving in the right direction,” South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry spokesman Sidwell Medupe said, adding that outstanding issues will be finalized by Dec 31. The pact the two countries signed is part of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a US program designed to help African exporters. The agreement would see the United States emerge as one of the top poultry exporters to South Africa. DUBAI: Iran plans to increase its production of natural gas to more than 1 billion cubic meters (bcm) a day in the next two and a half years, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying yesterday. Speaking at a news conference ahead of next week’s meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Tehran, Zanganeh also said Iran was ready to export gas to neighboring Iraq. “According to our plans, in the next two and a half years the country’s gas production will increase to more than 1,000 million cubic meters a day,” Zanganeh was quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry’s news agency Shana. “We are ready to export gas to Iraq ... the total will be more than 50 million cubic metres a day,” he added. Iran’s gas production, excluding flared and re-injected gas, more than doubled to 160.5 bcm by 2012 from 75 bcm in 2002. Iran has huge gas reserves. It exports small quantities to Turkey but has been unable to increase production quickly enough to meet its own demand and northern Iran relies heavily on gas imports from Turkmenistan, especially for heating in winter.