AGOA under threat – again

Minister of trade and industry Rob Davies today told journalists at a press meeting that agricultural goods such as citrus, macadamia, canned fruit, wine and avocadoes may be subject to exclusion from AGOA if an agreement is not reached between the US and SA.

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“We’re in extra time now and hope that the whistle will not be blown before negotiations conclude,” said Davies, adding that negotiations had continued through the December holiday period.

Besides concerns about the avian influenza threat posed by US poultry imports, two additional phytosanitary issues still concerned local vets, said Davies.

One was to determine acceptable salmonella levels in imported chicken and the procedures to follow after detection. The issue of whether beef imported via the US from its neighbours should be seen as ‘US beef’ was also being discussed.

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Currently, beef originating from neighbouring countries can be seen as originating from the US if cattle stayed in a US feedlot for 90 days.