SA & US finally agree to poultry trade protocol

The US is set to soon begin exporting 65 000t of bone-in chicken portions to SA on an annual basis.

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This follows US and SA veterinary authorities finally agreeing on a hotly debated ‘Protocol for Poultry Meat and Day-Old Chicks’.

Since December 2014, the SA government has banned the originally agreed-upon poultry meat imports from the US on the grounds that 20 of that country’s states were experiencing outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Government was fearful that allowing US poultry imports would put SA’s poultry at risk of developing HPAI.

It was only after the US threatened to withdraw SA’s favourable export conditions to the US in terms of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that the SA government agreed to compromise on its stance regarding US poultry imports.

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Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) spokesperson Sidwell Medupe said the recently signed protocol would allow for imports of US poultry meat from states that were not affected by HPAI.

“Negotiating an appropriate trade protocol and health certificate that both secures market access for the US and also ensures safety for animal and human health was a challenging task for the veterinarians from both the US and SA,” said Medupe.

The DTI said that, following the protocol’s signing, SA met “all of the eligibility criteria to remain a beneficiary of AGOA for the next 10 years”.

Meanwhile, the SA poultry industry remained strongly opposed to the 65 000t quota because this represented approximately 5% of SA’s annual poultry production and threatened the profitability and sustainability of the local poultry industry.