October 18, 2022
South African meat association urges review on poultry import duties
The South African Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (Amie) has urged the government to review its poultry import tariffs, as the association said the duties add additional burden to consumers, Moneyweb reported.
This follows the South African Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Review report for October, which revealed that between 2013 and 2022, the customs duties on frozen whole chicken and bone-in pieces increased by more than three times, from 27% to 82% and 18% to 62%, respectively.
According to the report, anti-dumping duties and safeguards imposed to limit substitution toward the European Union made the effects of the rising prices of frozen chicken meat and decreasing imports worse.
The most favoured nation tariffs on frozen chicken increased cumulatively from 18% in 2010 to 62% in 2021, according to the report, raising consumer prices by 13% to 40%.
The report mentions the government's recent decision to temporarily suspend tariffs on chicken imports for a 12-month period, saying that "chicken is the main source of meat protein for most low-income households in South Africa."
It said that the suspension should help lower-income South Africans' real consumption and purchasing power.
Paul Matthew, CEO of Amie, said given the weak economy, high inflationary environment, and the South African Reserve Bank's belief that the nation has not yet reached a peak in inflation, it is essential that the government do everything it can to keep this important source of protein within reach of the most vulnerable in our society.
Matthews said local production has remained limited despite rising demand for chicken over time. He points out that the production of processed meat products depends heavily on imported chicken, even though it only makes up less than 10% of total consumption, excluding mechanically deboned meat.
In addition to supplying the needed competition to keep prices in check, imported poultry also fills the consumption gap.
Matthews said what has happened in South Africa is that production has been constrained and concentrated, which has led to an increase in prices, adding that liberalizing trade will correct this in the consumers' favour.