- To download a copy of the US Presidential Proclamation, click here (0.06 MB)
South Africa has received a March 15 deadline to ensure the entry of US poultry within 60 days or lose some of its duty-free benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa); however, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday assured that the suspension would not be implemented, with the proposed suspension expected to be lifted as soon as the first shipment of poultry enters the South African market within the next few weeks.
In a Presidential Proclamation issued by the White House late on Monday, US President Barack Obama said the application of duty-free treatment for all Agoa-eligible goods in the agricultural sector from South Africa would be suspended effective March 15, stating that restriction was “more effective” than termination in promoting compliance by South Africa.
US Embassy spokesperson Cynthia Harvey earlier on Tuesday assured that the renewed suspension decision was not immediate and served as a deadline to ensure successful US poultry trade in the African country, with the full Agoa benefits reinstated “at any time” if the US determined that South Africa was meeting the agreed criteria set out by the US Congress to resume trade of the three meats smoothly and expeditiously.
The surprise move followed the resolution last week of all long-standing disagreements over sanitary and phytosanitary matters surrounding the imports of the three meats from the Western powerhouse days after South Africa missed the US-stipulated deadline to concede to certain demands for the elimination of barriers to trade.
Last week, addressing media in Pretoria, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies announced that all documents related to Agoa were signed, with a balance struck between opening up trade and mitigating animal and human health protocols to avoid any risk and uncertainty.
However, US Trade Representative Michael Froman issued a post-agreement statement saying that continued successful participation in the Agoa now relied on consumers’ uptake of the imported meats.
US Senators and Senate Chicken Caucus co-chairpersons Johnny Isakson and Chris Coons added that the ultimate success would only be achieved when US poultry finally entered the South African market.
The DTI, along with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, was working closely with the US Embassy in South Africa, local importers and US exporters to facilitate the first shipments of US poultry under the agreed 65 000 t/y quota for US bone-in-chicken pieces.
"We are thus confident that the first shipment will arrive in the next few weeks and the US President will consequently revoke the above proclamation," the DTI said.
“If the remaining benchmark – the entry of US poultry into South Africa under the agreed-upon conditions – is met before March 15, 2016, the [US] President will be able to consider a revocation of the proclamation before suspension takes effect,” Harvey said.