S. Africa Commission to Make Poultry-Duty Recommendation in July

South Africa’s International Trade Administration Commission said it plans a further probe into the poultry association’s request to raise tariffs on chicken imports to as much as 82 percent before making a recommendation.

ITAC will make a final determination by July 9 and send the directives to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, it said in an e-mailed statement today.

The commission yesterday met with the South African Poultry Association, which says imports of certain chicken cuts from Brazil and the European Union are hurting the local industry and may result in as many as 20,000 job losses if they aren’t stopped. The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, which also attended the talks, says increasing import duties to the maximum 82 percent from the current 5 percent to 27 percent range will raise the cost of the protein for local consumers.

“We hope they weigh up all the details for this investigation to be taken forward,” Kevin Lovell, chief executive officer of the poultry association, said by phone yesterday.

South Africa’s Food and Allied Worker’s Union on April 3 staged a march to ask the nation’s Department of Trade and Industry to impose tariffs on chicken imports from the European Union and Brazil. The poultry association applied to ITAC to impose a general tariff and protection from EU shipments under the World Trade Organization rules.

Yesterday’s presentation “was well received by ITAC,” David Wolpert, chief executive officer of the meat importers and exporters’ body, known as AMIE, said yesterday.

Court Application

The AMIE has brought a court application against the commission seeking access to information in its tariff investigation. The hearing will take place in the Pretoria High Court on June 18.

“If we win the case next week, it will delay the whole recommendation process anyway,” Wolpert said.

In December, Davies decided not to impose anti-dumping duties on whole birds and boneless cuts from Brazil and instead said there was scope to raise general tariffs for shipments, Business Day reported on Dec. 27. South Africa had imposed additional anti-dumping duties of 6 percent to 63 percent from February to August last year on some chicken cuts from the Latin American country.