S. African Meat Traders Lodge Antitrust Complaint Over Chickens

South Africa’s meat traders lodged a complaint with the antitrust regulator on proposals by a chicken industry lobby to raise tariffs on birds shipped from overseas.

The petition against the South African Poultry Association and local frozen-chicken companies was filed at the Competition Commission, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters said in an e-mailed statement. The complaint relates to using duties to halt competition, as well as price manipulation, it said.

The commission was scheduled to meet yesterday to decide on directives to be sent to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

The poultry group says imports of some cuts from Brazil and Europe are hurting the local industry and may lead to as many as 20,000 job losses. The meat trading lobby says raising duties to as much as 82 percent from 5 percent to 27 percent currently would increase the cost of protein for local consumers.

“They are entitled to make their accusations,” Kevin Lovell, CEO of the poultry association, said today by mobile phone. “The competition commission has investigated us before and they found nothing of concern. I know for sure we do not support any non-competitive measures in all our dealings.”

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