The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement during his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) last week that the new tariffs on imported chicken to curb the unfair component of international trade, will be set within two weeks.
Sapa GM Izaak Breitenbach says that since the Poultry Industry Master Plan was signed in November, a number of steps have been taken towards implementation by both government and the poultry industry.
“It is great to be able to confirm that the ball is rolling,” he comments.
Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel signed off on the tariff shortly after the Master Plan was finalised, and Sapa says it has been waiting since then for the legal processes to be completed so that this “essential tariff adjustment” can become a reality.
Sapa is confident that Patel will set the tariff at an appropriate level to “bring the much-needed relief from unfair trade to South Africa’s chicken producers, who have been battling to compete in a trade environment that has favoured unfair imports”.
The association does, however, add that “not all imports are unfairly traded” and says the South African poultry industry “can compete with Brazil, the US and the European Union on an equal playing field”, which the tariffs should ensure.
However, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters previously said that a decision to implement tariff increases of up to 82% on chicken imported from non-European Union and non-Southern African Development Community countries could result in shortages in the domestic market, according to a study it commissioned last year.
The study, which was undertaken by business advisory firm FTI Consulting, set out to review the South African broiler industry, with a focus on international trade.
The study found that, despite already high levels of trade protection, domestic producers had not increased production to meet growing demand. There was no evidence that further protection would allow them to achieve this objective, the authors had stated.