January 15, 2019

Brazil association criticises planned tariffs on chicken exports to South Africa


South Africa's move to impose tariffs on the import of frozen chicken parts could have an adverse impact on local consumers and the supply of such products in the country, the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein said.

The imposition of a higher tariff is seen as a way to control imports entering South Africa. According to Francois Baird, founder of Fairplay, an organisation that tackles unfair trade practices and dumping, years of  "steadily increasing imports of chicken portions dumped below the cost of production" have eroded the competitive position of the local poultry industry.


Higher tariffs, Baird argued, will prevent the loss of "thousands of jobs" in the sector, given that " [cheap] imports now claim between a quarter and a third of the (South African) market." Due to the ease of access for these products, smaller local producers are forced to close their businesses, while larger ones have to restructure their business models and retrench manpower.

As such, the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) made an application to the International Trade Administration Commission - the organisation tasked with customs tariff investigations, trade remedies, and import and export control - to implement an 82% increase to an ad valorem tariff on bone-in and boneless frozen chicken portions, from existing levels of 37% and 12%, respectively.

But Brazilian Association of Animal Protein dismissed South Africa's justification for the tariff as unsustainable, questioning the country's ability to maintain poultry productions at sufficient levels as the sector is affected by pathogenic avian influenza "since 2017."

The association also stated that local production supplemented with imported chicken meat could meet South Africa's demand for fresh and frozen chicken products in a safe, efficient and reliable manner.

"These partnerships create jobs locally and benefit processors, restaurant chains, retailers, wholesalers and especially... families, who have access to healthy, top-quality poultry meat. The requested tariff-rate increase in frozen poultry products would also affect the domestic prices for consumers, given that imports would be more expensive and there would be a lack of supply by South Africa's production," the association added.

- Business Day

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