SA con­sid­ers EU poul­try-im­port safe­guards

CityPress - - Business - Rens­burg – De­wald van

South Africa will in­ves­ti­gate new safe­guards against chicken im­ports from Europe in its first at­tempt to use an es­cape clause in a free trade deal with the Euro­pean Union (EU) called the Trade, De­vel­op­ment and Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment.

The In­ter­na­tional Trade Ad­min­is­tra­tion Com­mis­sion an­nounced the in­ves­ti­ga­tion on Fri­day af­ter lo­cal poul­try pro­duc­ers asked for a 37% tar­iff to be rein­tro­duced.

The trade agree­ment led to tar­iffs get­ting cut to 0% in 2010, lead­ing to a surge in chicken im­ports from noth­ing to more than 150 000 tons a year.

That is more than dou­ble the quota of US chicken be­ing al­lowed in this year af­ter tor­tu­ous ne­go­ti­a­tions and the threat of los­ing ac­cess to trade ben­e­fits un­der the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act. South Africa al­ready slapped anti-dump­ing du­ties on ex­porters from Ger­many, the UK and the Nether­lands in 2014.

All this achieved was to shift the im­ports to Spain and Bel­gium, said Kevin Lovell, CEO of the SA Poul­try As­so­ci­a­tion.

Af­ter th­ese du­ties, im­ports still rose last year. To put tar­iffs on Euro­pean chicken, South Africa will have to show that there has been a “se­ri­ous dis­rup­tion” due to the im­ports – a vague con­di­tion that the trade agree­ment does not fully de­fine.

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