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DTI to address concerns of the South African poultry industry

The South African government through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has committed to addressing the concerns of the domestic industry over poultry imports

This announcement followed concerns raised by the poultry industry, including the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), over cheap poultry product imports from the European Union, Brazil and the United States which is flooding the South African markets.

The DTI said the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) had been working with the domestic industry to address the challenges faced by the industry.

The DTI stated that over the last three years, upon application by the industry through the International Trade and Administration Commission (ITAC), a number of actions were taken by the government to address the challenges in the industry. These include increase in tariffs covering a number of poultry products in line with South Africa’s international commitments, imposing trade remedies where evidence indicates dumping of poultry in the South Africa market or where there is a surge in imports.

In 2013, the import duty on a number of poultry products was increased significantly. Therefore, the current import duties for chicken imports from countries like Brazil and the United States are as follows: whole bird: 82 per cent, carcasses: 31 per cent, boneless cuts: 12 per cent, offal: 30 per cent, bone-in portions: 37 per cent.

The above import duties are not applicable to imports from the European Union (EU) since South Africa has a preferential trade agreement with the EU. However, in 2015 anti-dumping measures ranging from 3.86 per cent to 73.33 per cent were imposed on frozen bone-in chicken pieces from Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa has also initiated a safeguard investigation in regard to the surge of imports of frozen bone-in chicken pieces from the EU and this investigation is far advanced.

The DTI said that it is working with DAFF on opening new markets for poultry exports. Recently new markets in the Middle East have been opened and present a further opportunity for export to the domestic poultry industry in South Africa. Furthermore, the dti is in the process of considering the designation of domestic poultry products for purposes of public procurement.

A number of countries are currently experiencing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreaks and consequently, in line with the guidelines of the World Organisation for Animal Health, South Africa has placed a ban on imports of poultry from Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands and Poland. DAFF commented that it is closely monitoring the developments in regard to these outbreaks and will take the appropriate actions to address any health and safety concerns.