TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

SA poultry producers in bid to end AGOA logjam

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 Published: | Banele Ginindza

Source: Independent Newspapers (South Africa)

South African poultry producers are making concessions in order to end a dispute with the US over local poultry tariffs and keep the country on track to be included in the renewal of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) was drafting a letter with “realistic, rational and reasonable proposals”, which if accepted by their US counterparts would form the basis of a new agreement, Sapa chief executive Kevin Lovell said yesterday.

This comes after the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies late last week agreed with US trade representative Michael Froman to strengthen and deepen their bilateral trade and investment relations during the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (Tifa) Council meeting that was held in Washington.

In a statement, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said that Davies and Froman had fruitful and constructive discussions on Agoa, outstanding market access issues and the investment climate, as well the multilateral trade agenda.

Sapa was expected to table an improved offer that would likely lead to a deal being finalised.

According to the dti, the proposed deal will see US chicken bone-in cut exports being restored to their value prior to 2000 with a growth factor that takes into account current dynamics in the South African market. 

Quantity

The outstanding issue is for both poultry associations to agree on the quantity of US chicken that will be excluded from anti-dumping duties.

Davies appealed to the US to engage its poultry industry to also show flexibility in the negotiations so that the outcome was reasonable and in line with what both parties could live with.

Lovell said he was drafting the letter whose contents were discussed over dinner with his US counterpart and that if the letter was agreed to, it would be escalated to an agreement.

“I am confident that what we propose is fair and rational. For the Americans, the sweet spot is to get sufficient access to not find it worthwhile to pursue the matter,” he said.

Lovell, who could not give out details of the new agreement, said Sapa was trying a fair way to give the US access to the local market without harming the local industry.

He said what was clear was the signing of a new trade deal by the relevant representatives indicated that the poultry dispute was in itself not sufficient reason for the exclusion of South Africa from Agoa, hence the poultry practitioners had to meet and resolve their disagreements.

“We will get an outcome quite soon,” Lovell said.

The two countries signed the revised Tifa in 2012, a key platform to address issues of bilateral concerns and boost bilateral relations.

Davies had committed that South Africa would work towards concluding the poultry discussions soon, the dti said.

The same message was communicated in his meeting with US Senators Chris Coons and Johnny Isakson, who have been lobbying for greater access for US poultry to the local market.

For 15 years, US poultry exports to South Africa have been subjected to what US officials have called punitive anti-dumping tariffs – more than 30 percent raising the ire of US lawmakers in recent months.

Coons and Isakson have pushed for South Africa to be kicked out of Agoa if it does not scrap the poultry tariffs.

Barring South Africa from Agoa would cost South Africa as much as $2.5 billion (R30.1bn) in benefits and put thousands of jobs in jeopardy. Agoa must be renewed ahead of its September expiration date.

View related news articles

'The renewal: US-Africa relationship'

'The renewal: US-Africa relationship'

In his first allocution to African leaders at the virtual African Union Summit in February, recently elected United States President, Joe Biden, reiterated his administration’s commitment to rebuilding partnerships with Africa and re-engaging with international institutions such as the African Union. Biden set out his foreign policy priorities, pointing towards...

13 April, 2021
SA president to meet with US Chamber of Commerce over investment

SA president to meet with US Chamber of Commerce over investment

President Cyril Ramaphosa will participate in a virtual business and investment roundtable on Tuesday (10 November) with representatives from three major business organisations from the United States. The organisations are the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), and the US Chamber of Commerce. “The president...

10 November, 2020
Opinion: 'Trump vs. Biden: This is how it could impact South African agriculture'

Opinion: 'Trump vs. Biden: This is how it could impact South African agriculture'

As the race for the White House continues, agriculture leaders say a win for Democrat Joe Biden will strengthen and fast-track trade relations between South Africa and the United States. Currently, the race between pres. Donald Trump and Biden hinges on tight races in battleground states. Trump has already falsely claimed victory while Biden called for patience and every...

05 November, 2020
Will the US presidential elections impact South Africa’s economic recovery?

Will the US presidential elections impact South Africa’s economic recovery?

With over 6.29million recorded cases worldwide and over 380,00 deaths, its safe to say the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the globe as we know it. Although Africa has, for the most part, managed to avoid an exponential spread of the disease, the overall recovery of the country and more specifically South Africa, hangs in the balance due to a number of...

27 July, 2020
'South Africa must get ready for an inevitable loosening of trade ties with the US'

'South Africa must get ready for an inevitable loosening of trade ties with the US'

In six months’ time the world’s gaze will be trained on what is gearing up to be a contentious and hotly contested presidential election in the US. Irrespective of who emerges victorious between the incumbent President Donald Trump and the Democratic nominee Joe Biden South Africa needs to start thinking about what it stands to lose – or gain – from the new...

02 June, 2020
Former US negotiator: US-Kenya deal could spur regional value chains

Former US negotiator: US-Kenya deal could spur regional value chains

A trade deal with the U.S. could help both Kenya and its neighbors in the East African Community by fostering the development of regional value chains, a former U.S. trade official tells Inside U.S. Trade. “I think it’d be really fascinating as we go forward with this U.S.-Kenya FTA to see what’s going to be possible not just for Kenya but for other African countries...

10 February, 2020
South Africa GSP country review hearings: programme and witness list

South Africa GSP country review hearings: programme and witness list

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OFFICE OF THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE PUBLIC COUNTRY PRACTICE HEARING U.S. GENERALIZED SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES (GSP) Held at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative 1724 F Street, N.W. Washington D.C., Rooms 1 and 2 January 31, 2020 Program and Witness List - Final Welcome and Introduction 10:00 am Ms. Laura Buffo, Deputy Assistant...

29 January, 2020
South Africa will caution Trump on ‘premature’ trade review

South Africa will caution Trump on ‘premature’ trade review

South Africa’s government will tell President Donald Trump’s administration that its review of a preferential trade agreement that could put as much as $2.4 billion in exports at risk is premature and potentially damaging for both economies. The U.S. Trade Representative will start public hearings on Thursday [see submissions and hearing schedule here] to...

29 January, 2020