South Africa is imposing provisional anti-dumping duties on chicken imports from Brazil and four European Union countries – Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain – as they have become a major threat to the country’s poultry industry.
Not-for-profit trade movement FairPlay has welcomed the move saying that the provisional duties will remain in effect until June 14, 2022, by which time South Africa’s trade regulator, the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac), is expected to have completed its investigation into an application by poultry industry for anti-dumping duties against the five countries.
The imposition of anti-dumping duties does not come as a surprise as one of SA’s largest poultry producers Astral Foods cited in its September financial results that continued high chicken imports continue to affect its performance.
For the year to September, Astral reported that South Africa had imported nearly 328 000 tonnes of poultry as follows:
- 67% from Brazil
- 16% from the United States
- 8.3% from the European Union, and
- 5% from Argentina.
According to FairPlay, this is poultry that could and should be produced in local facilities creating local jobs. Instead, local production is being squeezed and jobs are being shed.
“This is an innovative and very welcome solution to the problem of extremely lengthy investigations into applications for anti-dumping duties,” says Francois Baird, founder of the FairPlay movement.
“The application was lodged in February this year, and a decision was not expected until mid-2022. Now we have provisional duties in place from now until June next year, which will help level the playing field for South African poultry producers until Itac makes a final determination.
“FairPlay has repeatedly called for speedier action on anti-dumping applications, and we are pleased with this decision. Moreover, this is another nail in the coffin for dumping and predatory trade denialists.”
The recognition of ‘predatory’ and ‘unfair trade’ in the importation of chicken into the country saw the South African government granting tariffs of 62% for frozen bone-in chicken portions (up from 37%) and 42% for frozen boneless portions (up from 12%) in 2020.
These tariffs apply to non-EU countries such as Brazil, the US and Argentina.
According to the organisation, the provisional duties apply to bone-in chicken imports such as leg quarters, drumsticks, thighs, and wings from the four EU countries. For Brazil the provisional duties apply to bone-in chicken portions as well as chicken breasts.
The duties range from 6% to 265.1% for various poultry producers from Brazil, from 39% to 67.4% for Denmark, 158.42% for Ireland, 5% to 96.9% from Poland and 3% to 85.8% from Spain.
“The duties are sorely needed,” says Baird.
“The application from the SA Poultry Association showed that dumped imports from these countries comprised more than half of bone-in imports in recent years. These are specific anti-dumping duties, applicable to these five countries being investigated for dumping chicken portions in this country.”
Baird adds that action against unfair and illegal imports is part of the poultry master plan which commits government, the poultry industry, and chicken importers to reducing imports and helping the industry to grow to serve expanded local and export markets.
“This is a victory for the local poultry industry and its workers, and for small-scale black farmers who have suffered the effects of dumped and predatory imports,” he says.
“FairPlay commends Itac and the SA Revenue Service for deciding on these provisional duties. We hope they will be confirmed when we get the final decision next year.”
Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.
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