South Africa’s continued successful participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) agreement now relies on consumers’ uptake of US poultry, pork and beef.
South Africa and the US this week put to bed all long-standing disagreements over sanitary and phytosanitary matters surrounding the imports of the three meats, averting a possible partial suspension of the African nation’s Agoa duty-free trade benefits.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman issued a post-agreement statement saying that, while much celebration should be made of the progress made in resolving the outstanding technical issues that had risked South Africa’s benefits within the Agoa pact, the “true test” would be South African consumers’ purchase of the imported meats in local stores.
US Senators and Senate Chicken Caucus cochairpersons Johnny Isakson and Chris Coons welcomed the agreement, adding that the ultimate success would only be achieved when US poultry finally entered the South African market, which could occur within a month.
“South Africa’s decision to finally fulfil the obligations of the settlement reached last summer means that after more than 15 years of illegal antidumping duties and unfair trade policies, US poultry will finally be able to enter the South African market,” said Isakson and Coons.
Their comments followed the announcement this week by Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies that the South African market was now open to US meat imports after a balance had been struck between opening up the trade and mitigating animal and human health protocols to avoid any risk and uncertainty.
“We will be working to ensure that this final benchmark of entry of poultry is achieved so that South Africa continues to have the advantage of full Agoa benefits, including by working with the US and South African industries to expedite the shipment of eligible product as soon as possible,” Froman concluded.