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South Africa and US in AGOA poultry deal deadlock

South African and American poultry producers are deadlocked over a duty-free trade access deal

US producers want South Africa to remove anti-dumping duties on their poultry products – typically bone-in chicken legs – which they say put them at a competitive disadvantage.

Their South African counterparts, however, have objected, claiming that the influx of cheap American chicken will undercut the local market.

“US consumers prefer the white meat (chicken breast) and tend to sell the brown meat (chicken legs) to other countries, such as South Africa,” explained South African trade minister, Rob Davies. “The low price of the chicken legs, however, tends to undercut the local South African producers, reducing local production and jobs.

“Poultry has been identified as an important sector for further development in the Agriculture Policy Action Plan that was agreed to in Cabinet,” Davies added.

The South African government has reportedly left the two poultry associations to negotiate a deal, but the sides remain deadlocked, and South Africa’s inclusion in a renewed US-African trade pact is dependent on the successful resolution of the issue.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) – a system of nonreciprocal preferences providing duty-free access to a range of products from sub-Saharan countries – expires at the end of September.

AGOA has reportedly created 62,000 jobs in South Africa, and Davies will push for a renewal of the deal during a visit to Washington next week to promote trade and cooperation.