South Africa Imposes Chicken Import Duties on Three EU Countries

South Africa imposed anti-dumping duties against imports of chicken pieces from Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. after domestic producers claimed the countries were breaching trade regulations.

The International Trade Administration Commission in Pretoria, the capital, imposed provisional duties of 22 percent to 73 percent on frozen bone-in portions from the three countries, it said in a statement today. The move follows an application by the South African Poultry Association in October.

Imports from the European Union nations covered by the steps amount to dumping under World Trade Organization rules and standards, Kevin Lovell, head of the poultry association, said by phone from Johannesburg. “This is not a punishment at all, it’s to ensure rules are followed.”

In September, South Africa increased tariffs on imports of whole birds to 82 percent, the maximum allowed, from 27 percent on shipments except those from EU countries, which usually enjoy favored-nation status. The anti-dumping investigation can take as long as 12 months, after which the trade minister will announce a final ruling on today’s steps.

“This does not mean they are not allowed to import here, just that it will be a little more expensive for them now,” the poultry association’s Lovell said. The measure is temporary and expires on Jan. 2.

The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, a local lobby group, said it expects the steps to increase chicken prices.

Cheaper Corn

The new duties are high, especially after local producers benefited from a drop in the price of corn fed to poultry, David Wolpert, chief executive officer of the importers’ organization, said in an e-mail. He estimated that the lower corn price has saved local suppliers about $650 million.

The South African trade commission said it considered responses and comments received from the parties involved and “made a preliminary determination that frozen bone-in portions of chicken, originating in or imported from Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were being dumped and causing injury to the domestic industry.”

The sides will have a further opportunity to present their case to the commission before a final ruling.

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