Senators Isakson, Coons applaud US Trade Representative review of South Africa under AGOA
US Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Chris Coons, D-Del., co-chairs of the U.S. Senate Chicken Caucus, released the following statement after Ambassador Michael Froman, the United States Trade Representative (USTR), promptly began an out-of-cycle review process to determine whether South Africa should remain eligible to benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) preference program in light of ongoing trade violations.
“For several years, we have been working to ensure poultry farmers in Georgia, Delaware and across the United States are treated fairly, and we commend the tremendous progress made with the Paris agreement between the American and South African poultry industries,” the senators said. “We are encouraged that USTR is taking enforcement of AGOA seriously by quickly conducting an out-of-cycle review of South Africa’s eligibility for benefits. There are still several actions South Africa must take to implement the terms of the Paris agreement, and we will continue to work with USTR to ensure those requirements are met.”
South Africa represents the largest potential market in Africa for U.S. poultry, but in 2000 — shortly after the original enactment of AGOA — it began imposing antidumping duties on U.S. poultry products, effectively slamming the door shut on American chicken imports. The duties were based on a pricing system that values all parts of the chicken equally, which is neither accurate nor commonly accepted. However, an agreement between government and industry negotiators from the United States and South Africa was reached in Paris in June 2015 to end the illegal duties and open the South African market to American poultry farmers. South Africa must now implement this agreement and address their separate complete ban on U.S. poultry due to avian flu before U.S. product can enter the market.
Before reauthorization of AGOA was signed into law earlier this year, Senators Isakson and Coons included provisions in the trade bill that subjected South Africa to this out-of-cycle review to determine progress in meeting the eligibility criteria.
Link to South Africa Out of Cycle Review documents.