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Poultry body defends call for 82% chicken tariffs

| Economic factors

The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) has defended its decision to call for a hike in chicken imports tariffs to 82 percent, up from the current 37percent.

This comes after Emerging Black Importers and Exporters South Africa (EBieSA) called on the government to stop the current application launched by Sapa to increase import tariffs on chicken to 82 percent until the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has completed and then implemented its master plan for the local poultry industry.

However, Izaak Breitenbach, a general manager at Sapa, said that to say that the tariff application must wait until the outcome of the master plan amounts to “if the police are developing a masterplan to improve crime fighting the police must stop policing in the meantime".

“To postpone the tariff outcome to after a master plan is agreed will cause further job losses. The dti is competent to make decisions like this and include the views of all stakeholders and we are satisfied that ample consideration will take place,” Breitenbach said.

He said the application to increase the most favoured nation (MFN) tariff had the objective of curbing unfair trade. The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac ) has already found unfair trade in granting the industry an MFN duty, but the quantum did not have the desired effect of curbing unfair trade and therefore the application.

 “SA Revenue Service data shows that whole birds are imported at prices as low as R6 a kilo. Importers partake and profiteer from this unfair trade at the expense of economic growth and job creation.

"Forty-seven percent of small farmers surveyed have already gone out of business. And their employees lost their employment due to a few individuals profiteering from unfair trade,” Breitenbach added.

He further defended Sapa’s call to increase the tariffs by pointing out that EBieSA would not be as negatively impacted by the increase as they claim.

“EBieSA only import under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) quota at present and this tariff will not affect the imports under Agoa. EBieSA, as the proxy for the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters has submitted thousands of pages of response to Itac for consideration. Having done that, the concerns raised will be considered by Itac in its calculation of a potential tariff. The process is not negotiating with government in the press but a very thorough international process,” he said.


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