US calls on SA to honour agreement on poultry exports

In a letter to President Jacob Zuma, Johnny Isakson and Christopher Coons, both members of the US senate foreign relations committee, urged the president to lift antidumping duties on US poultry so that poultry exports to SA can resume.

- Advertisement -

According to a statement, a settlement was reached in the longstanding poultry dispute between the US and SA on 8 June this year, during negotiations in Paris.

However, the US is yet to receive the go-ahead to start exporting certain poultry products to SA.

In the letter, Isakson and Coons pointed out that there were still two unresolved issues hindering the implementation of the Paris agreement. A rebate facility must be created to legally exempt the annual quota amount from antidumping duties. The rules for allocation and administration of the quota must also be developed through a transparent legal process.

- Advertisement -

They were also disappointed that there has been no progress in addressing SA’s complete ban on US poultry due to avian influenza.

“Without these issues being addressed US companies cannot ship product, regardless of the other terms of the Paris agreement being reached,” said the letter.

In the letter the US senators imply that SA’s foot-dragging to implement the agreement reached in Paris was putting the country’s participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) at risk.

Isakson and Coons recently ensured that a conditions be added to the reauthorisation of AGOA requiring the US Trade Representative (USTR) to conduct a review of South Africa’s trade practices, specifically antidumping duties on US poultry.

They pointed to the on-going review by the USTR as another reason for swift action to be taken by South Africa to complete the essential processes.

“As you are well aware, a review of South Africa’s eligibility under AGOA is presently underway,” Isakson and Coons wrote in their letter to Zuma.

“You also know that it is crucially important to both of us that there be a successful and expeditious resolution of this issue so that the US poultry industry can begin again to participate in the South African market,” they said.