SA imports less poultry from the US than expected

South Africa has thus far imported lower volumes of poultry from the US than anticipated under the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) agreement.

SA imports less poultry from the US than expected
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AGOA allows the US to export an annual quota of 65 000t of bone-in poultry portions to South Africa without paying anti-dumping duties under a rebate provision.

“The rebate specified that the US was exempt from paying an anti-dumping duty of R9,40/kg, as part of a concession made by South Africa to allow for the country to retain its preferential market access under the AGOA,” recent research by Agbiz said.

Between January and September 2016, South Africa imported 230 643t of bone-in poultry portions, which included wings, quarters, feet and drumsticks, amongst others. Of this, around 18 098t (only 8%) was imported from the US.

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Kevin Lovell, CEO of the South African Poultry Association (SAPA), said that it was not clear why the quota had not been met.

“Some possible reasons are that the US produces a range of chicken sizes and the very big ‘Godzilla’ ones can have leg quarters in excess of 700g, double what local consumers are used to at present. Most of the product that we have seen in the market has poor physical quality and cannot easily be separated out into individual pieces”

“The reason for higher imports is simply because it is easy to export to South Africa and local producers are not protected in any real way, unlike in the EU and the US,” Lovell said.

In March, Farmer’s Weekly reported that Craig Dorfling, a buyer at Durban-based import company Federated Meats, said that if poultry product prices imported from the US under AGOA were too expensive, importers would source their meat elsewhere.

He added that if US prices increased, it was possible that the 65 000t quota would not be met.

“If US prices rise there could be a situation where the 65 000t quota isn’t filled,” Dorfling said.