South Africa Aims to Reach U.S. Poultry-Exports Accord Soon

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South African chicken producers aim to reach an agreement with U.S. counterparts on American exports of the meat in the next few days when they make a new offer early next week, the head of the country’s poultry group said.

The two countries are discussing the amount of chicken products that can be exported from the U.S., Kevin Lovell, the chief executive officer of the South African Poultry Association, said by phone from Rome on Thursday. The group will present American counterparts a new number which they feel is reasonable and fair for them to consider.

The countries have been at loggerheads on whether South Africa should lift the 2000 anti-dumping duties imposed on the U.S. It may lose out on preferential access to the U.S. market through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, if an agreement isn’t reached.

“We will be ready to actually draw up a written agreement to sign” in a few days, Lovell said. “We feel then that the matter should be completely resolved as long as they are prepared to be reasonable themselves.”

The nations agreed on principles for settling the dispute, though agreement on the amount that the U.S. can send to the African country remained a problem, Johannesburg-based Business Day reported, citing South Africa’s Trade Minister Rob Davies.

“What we are going to offer is reasonable and there should be no grounds to say that a dispute in poultry will be a cause for AGOA not to be renewed,” Lovell said.

In 2000, the International Trade Administration Commission requested imposing provisional duties on U.S. frozen whole chickens, frozen bone-in cuts such as drumsticks, leg quarters, breasts and thighs going to South Africa. Taxes were at 27 percent and 2.20 rand (19 U.S. cents) a kilogram (2.2 pounds) then.

“We cannot see how the American producers will honestly think that what we are about to offer is unreasonable,” Lovell said.

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