Thursday, February 29, 2024

Chicken exports to South Africa expected to resume

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By Barbara Olejnik

Poultry Times staff

GAINESVILLE, Ga ‑ U.S. exports of chicken to South Africa are expected to resume before the end of 2015, and, according to press reports, as early as Oct. 15, following several months of delays in implementing a trade agreement.

In a June meeting in Paris between the U.S. and South Africa, the two agreed on a framework to provide for renewed market access for U.S. bone-in chicken into the South African market.

South Africa had imposed a ban on U.S. poultry in 2000 as part of an antidumping program. The duties were based on a pricing system that values all parts of the chicken the same. In addition, South African initiated a complete ban on U.S. poultry due to outbreaks of avian influenza.

Under the June agreement the U.S. could annually export 65,000 metric tons of bone-in poultry to South African free of anti-dumping duties, with a formula that permits that number to grow.

The June meeting also stated that the return of exports to South African would resume after the two governments completed necessary implementation steps.

The delay by South Africa in completing the implementation process, prompted two U.S. senators to call for a review of South Africa under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), co-chairmen of the U.S. Senate Chicken Caucus, in August called for the review to determine whether South Africa should remain eligible to benefit from the AGOA preference program

The AGOA, passed by Congress in 2000, is a trade-preference program aimed at promoting growth by reducing U.S. barriers to African exports,

South Africa is AGOA’s largest beneficiary, with the U.S. International Trade Commission reporting that the country exported $3.1 billion under the treaty’s rules to the U.S. in 2014.

The AGOA was extended this year as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act.

However, before the reauthorization of AGOA was signed into law, the two senators included provisions in the trade bill that subjected South Africa to an out-of-cycle review to determine progress in meeting the AGOA eligibility criteria.

The out-of-cycle review was conducted in August by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to review progress to date and the process moving forward.

Senators Isakson and Coons, in commenting on the out-of-cycle review, stated, “For several years, we have been working to ensure poultry farmers in Georgia, Delaware and across the United States are treated fairly, and we commend the tremendous progress made with the Paris agreement between the American and South African poultry industries. We are encouraged that USTR is taking enforcement of AGOA seriously by quickly conducting an out-of-cycle review of South Africa’s eligibility for benefits. There are still several actions South Africa must take to implement the terms of the Paris agreement, and we will continue to work with USTR to ensure those requirements are met.”

The two senators also sent a letter to South African President Jacob Zuma noting that there are processes that need to be completed in South Africa to implement the Paris agreement. The letter called on the president to “encourage your industry and your government to complete these processes to implement the Paris agreement.”

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