June 9, 2015
South Africa to end costly duties on chicken imports from US
Under an agreement with the US, South Africa will abrogate exorbitant duties on chicken imports from the States whilst permitting deliveries into the country at a yearly volume of 65,000 tonnes, according to South African trade and industry minister, Rob Davies.
The development could position US as a key poultry exporter to the country as well as lubricating the implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which was approved by the US Congress in 2000. The AGOA initiative allows products from eligible sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries to enter the US duty-free.
The recent breakthrough in the chicken trade was conducted in Paris, France, and "within the tolerance of the (South African poultry) industry," Davies told Reuters, noting that South Africa accepts the outcome. "We believe we have placed ourselves in a much stronger position," he added.
Meanwhile, the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and the National Chicken Council expressed their enthusiasm to work with the government and South Africa on implementing the agreement.
Remaining details should be finalised by the end of June, according to US Senators Johnny Isakson and Chris Coons who had called for the withdrawal of South Africa's import duties and increased market access. Both men expects poultry shipments to enter the country before 2015 passes.
In another development following the Paris meeting, US and South African officials have agreed to deal with corollaries concerning exports of poultry, pork and beef, the US Trade Representative's office said.
Previously set at beyond 100% on particular chicken products, import duties had been enacted as anti-dumping measures which effectively shut the market for the last 15 years, industry groups said. While South Africa boasts the highest consumption of chicken among African nations, local producers have struggled to cope with increased demand.