US will not suspend duty-free benefits for SA – Gordhan

US has accepted the negotiated position on AGOA

CAPE TOWN, March 2 (Reuters) – The United States will not suspend duty-free benefits for South Africa as threatened after Pretoria met the requirements of a trade deal, the finance minister said on Wednesday.

The U.S. had said it would impose the constraints on March 15, for South Africa’s failure to meet the requirements of a trade deal initially targeting poultry, beef and pork.

South Africa had said it is concerned that an outbreak of avian flu in the United States, which killed nearly 50 million birds, could pose animal and human health risks to its economy.

The United States denies there are such health risks from its poultry.

“My colleague minister Rob Davies has just heard from the U.S. that their government has accepted finally the negotiated position on AGOA, and the constraints that were placed by the American president have now been removed,” Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told parliament.

South Africa exported $176 million in agricultural products to the United States under AGOA in 2014 and potential lost benefits were estimated to total $4 million to $7 million. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by James Macharia)

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