- African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/US poultry firms wait for South Africa to admit AGOA-deal exports

US poultry firms wait for South Africa to admit AGOA-deal exports

US poultry firms wait for South Africa to admit AGOA-deal exports
Published date:
Thursday, 20 August 2015
Ed Zim

The extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) may have occurred over a month ago, but US poultry and pork exporters say they have yet to receive a break under the agreement. And at least one trade group has called for limits on the participation of South Africa, AGOA’s biggest beneficiary.

The extension means that sub-Saharan African exporters will continue, at least until 30 September 2025, to be able to export to the US duty free. Also, the US has expanded low-duty access for the region’s exporters under the USA’s Generalised System of Preferences from roughly 4,600 items to more than 6,400.

South Africa is AGOA’s largest beneficiary, with the US International Trade Commission reporting that the country exported US$3.1 billion under the treaty’s rules to the US in 2014.

According to a Congressional compromise, under which the AGOA extension was passed, the president was given one month to set up an ‘out-of-cycle’ review of whether the South Africans were living up to their commitment to allow 65,000 metric tonnes of US-produced chicken to enter their country without paying an anti-dumping duty imposed on US chicken legs and thighs 15 years ago.

“This hasn’t happened yet,” noted USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) president Jim Sumner. “We hope that’s going to change, but we haven’t seen real evidence of it yet.”

According to Sumner, South Africa has managed so far to circumvent the promised opening for US poultry products by imposing restrictions instead based on health concerns. He claimed the South African decision early this year to ban all US poultry products following a reported avian influenza outbreak violated the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) by imposing a blanket (as opposed to regionalised) ban and keeping it in force for more than 90 days.

“If South Africa continues along that line, my understanding is that it could be a costly decision for South Africa,” Sumner told GlobalMeat News.

“Not at the moment,” admitted Sandile Tyini, economics minister to the South African embassy in Washington, when asked whether any US poultry products are entering his country. This is partly because the South African government needed to establish administrative procedures to implement the deal: “We need to issue a document on how to solve the problem of the outstanding duties,” he said. “We expect that US poultry producers will start exporting to South Africa early next year.”

But good news for US poultry producers notwithstanding, pork companies said they had seen little progress in negotiations with South Africa.

Shortly after the “out-of-cycle“ review of South Africa commenced early this month, the National Pork Producers Council formally petitioned the US Trade Representative to revoke or curtail South Africa trade benefits under AGOA. A decision on this is expected around 1 October, industry sources say.

US pork producers are dissatisfied with the fact that South Africa continues to ban US pork, based on concerns about porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), pseudorabies (PRV) and trichinae.

These bans are “completely without scientific justification”, said Nicholas Giordano, NPPC vice-president and counsel for global government affairs.

“We’ve been willing to engage with the South Africans about this in spite of the fact that we don’t find there is anything valid to talk about,” said Giordano. “It’s not good. We’re on the outside looking in.”


Read related news articles

US-Africa trade deal turns 25 next year: AGOA's winners, losers and what should come next

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) is a landmark piece of trade legislation enacted by the United States in 2000. Its goal is to promote economic growth, development and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa by providing qualifying countries with duty-free access to the US market for over 6,500 products. By eliminating import tariffs and quotas, Agoa aims to stimulate trade, attract foreign investment and foster economic...

06 May 2024

African trade coalition backs AGOA 16-year renewal bill to boost trade prospects

The African Coalition for Trade (ACT) has voiced its support for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024 and credits the bill with creating hundreds of thousands of direct jobs in Africa and the US. The AGOA Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024 which was introduced by Senators Chris Coons and James Risch would extend the bill for 16 years until 2041 and continue to boost Africa’s duty-free status as...

18 April 2024

US apparel and footwear industry supports 16 year AGOA renewal

The American Apparel & Footwear Association applauds Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senator James Risch (R-ID) for introducing the AGOA Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024.Currently set to expire in September 2025, AGOA is a pivotal trade preference program that provides duty-free access to the U.S. market, fostering economic growth and opportunity between the U.S. and eligible African countries. This program is the cornerstone of...

11 April 2024

US senators introduce bill to renew Africa trade pact through 2041 [Download copy]

A bipartisan group of senators will introduce a bill to renew the United States' trade pact with sub-Saharan Africa ahead of its expiration next year, an aide to one of the senators said on Thursday.  [    Download it here and download a summary here] The bill was introduced by Senators Chris Coons, a Democrat, and James Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A cross-party group of...

11 April 2024

US manufacturing subsidies for Africa could help revive AGOA

Experts at the Center for Global Development argue that the unconventional approach could bring billions in new trade opportunities and would fit with US “friend-shoring” efforts. The US should pay ‘negative tariffs’ in Africa – essentially targeted manufacturing subsidies – to help revive its faltering African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),  according to a new report from the Washington-based Center for Global...

05 April 2024

South Africa walks a tightrope on US relations

South Africa has been conducting a high-wire act in its relations with the United States (US). It is maintaining friendships with Washington’s enemies like Russia, Iran and China while trying to avoid disrupting its economic relations with America. Tensions came closer than ever to breaking point this month as the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs passed the US-South Africa Bilateral Relations...

28 March 2024

Remarks by Deputy Treasury Secretary Adeyemo on the US-South Africa economic relationship

As Prepared for Delivery in Johannesburg, South Africa Thank you for the warm welcome. I want to express my gratitude to Consul General Spera and the American Chamber of Commerce for hosting me. I am honored to be joined today by South African Entrepreneurs that are building companies to unlock the economic potential of their country.  I owe my own presence here today to the inspiration I drew from South Africa. In the middle of the...

13 March 2024

South African president Ramaphosa meets with US congressional delegation

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa today, 21 February 2024, received for a visit from a bipartisan congressional delegation from the United States of America, in Tuynhuys, Cape Town. The delegation is visiting South Africa at the invitation of the Aspen Institute. The President and the US congressional delegation discussed the importance of the relationship between South Africa and the US, which manifests in strong economic,...

21 February 2024

US and African civil society stakeholders seek AGOA extension

A Civil Society Organisation, Network and other stakeholders from across the United States and African Growth and Opportunity Act-eligible countries have petitioned the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, to consider an extension of the initiative. The CSO made the plea in a letter dated February 16, 2024, titled ‘Petition for Timely Re-Authorisation and Enhancement of the African Growth and Opportunity Act Beyond...

16 February 2024

US congress receives Bill to review South Africa relations

A bill has been submitted to the United States congress calling for a full review of the country’s bilateral relationship with South Africa following the International Court of Justice ruling that found it plausible that Israel has committed acts of genocide against Gaza. The bipartisan bill which was introduced by US Republican congressman John James and Democratic Party congressman Jared Moskowitz this week could threaten South...

09 February 2024

House Ways and Means Committee leadership statement on meeting with ambassadors from select AGOA countries

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) and Ranking Member Richard E. Neal (MA-01) released the following statement after hosting a bipartisan roundtable with Committee members and ambassadors from several African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) countries. AGOA is a U.S. trade program focused on strengthening economic ties between the United States and nations in Sub-Saharan Africa. “We appreciate the ambassadors from...

18 January 2024

You are here: Home/News/Article/US poultry firms wait for South Africa to admit AGOA-deal exports