Res­o­lu­tion in sight for US trade spat

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

SOUTH Africa and the US are close to con­clud­ing talks to solve a dis­pute over the im­por­ta­tion of US meat prod­ucts.

This emerged from the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dency fol­low­ing a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and his US coun­ter­part Barack Obama. The lead­ers dis­cussed sev­eral is­sues, in­clud­ing the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act (Agoa), a US trade act aimed at boost­ing trade with sub-Sa­ha­ran coun­tries.

The US ear­lier threat­ened to sus­pend duty-free ac­cess for all Agoa- el­i­gi­ble agri­cul­tural prod­ucts from South Africa, such as wine, fruit juice and cit­rus fruits, ac­cus­ing South Africa of block­ing US meat prod­ucts in­clud­ing poul­try, beef and pork.

South Africa banned US poul­try im­ports last De­cem­ber, af­ter an out­break of bird flu. But South Africa main­tains that it has been making progress in im­ple­ment­ing an agree­ment reached with the US in Paris in June.

South African Trade min­is­ter Rob Davies has said the pro­longed process was a re­sult of work by the two sides to set up nec­es­sary an­i­mal health pro­to­cols for the meat trade. – Xin­hua

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