Business Day | 03 April 2013
Poulterers fear influx of chicken from EU
by Linda Ensor
THE South African Poultry Association (Sapa), which has applied to the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) for a general tariff increase against chicken imports, also plans to seek protection against imports from the European Union (EU).
A decision by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies on a general tariff increase for chicken imports would not affect EU chicken, which enters South Africa duty-free in terms of the South Africa-EU trade, development and cooperation agreement.
The industry fears that even more EU chicken could enter South Africa if the general tariff is increased — to fill the gap left by a decline in imports from other countries.
The Food and Allied Workers Union plans a protest march on the Department of Trade and Industry’s offices in Pretoria today against the imports from Brazil and the EU and to call for government protection.
Sapa CEO Kevin Lovell said on Tuesday that remedies to be sought against the EU could include an application to Itac for use of a safeguard provided for under the South Africa-EU agreement, and/or an application to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for antidumping measures or the imposition of safeguards under WTO rules. An application was likely to be lodged this week.
Mr Lovell said imports of "bone-in" chicken or leg-quarters from the EU had increased dramatically since the zero-tariff regime took effect from January last year.
In 2009, South Africa imported 66,000 tons of leg-quarters. This rose to 162,000 tons last year, 70% of which came from the EU compared to its 0.5% share in 2009 when tariffs were still in place.
Itac chief commissioner Siyabulela Tsengiwe has confirmed receipt of Sapa’s application for a general tariff increase, which would be assessed over four months. The application would be placed before the commission this month and then be gazetted for a four-week period for public comment.
Mr Tsengiwe said any increase in the general tariff would not address the problem of European imports, which would have to be dealt with by means of other trade remedies.
Mr Lovell said Sapa’s application for a tariff increase related to frozen chicken products but excluded mechanically deboned meat.