TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Despite 31 US locations, Nando’s rejects imported chicken at its SA locations

Thursday, 19 May 2016 Published: | Dana Sanchez

Source: AFK Insider

You won’t find US chicken in South African locations of the mega chicken restaurant chain Nando’s, the company said Wednesday — proof that controversy hasn’t subsided over US chicken exports and the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Nando’s insists it uses only whole fresh chickens — not the frozen chicken parts that started arriving in South African stores in March for the first time in 15 years, thanks to reciprocal trade mandates required in AGOA.

In 2000, the U.S. eliminated import levies on more than 7,000 products from Africa benefiting 39 countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. Products range from oranges and textiles to cars. AGOA was renewed in June for 10 years, according to an AFKInsider report.

South Africa risked losing AGOA benefits in 2015 that include duty-free trade preferences, before finally agreed to import U.S. chicken. This ended a prolonged trade dispute, IndependentOnline reported.

U.S. chicken producers complained that while South Africa enjoyed duty-free access to U.S. markets, it was imposing trade barriers to chicken (ostensibly because of concerns U.S. producers would “dump” chicken in SA at less than the cost of production). These barriers included concerns that U.S. chicken may be contaminated by bird flu or other diseases, TheEconomist reported.

Founded in South Africa in 1987, Nando’s has a Mozambican-Portuguese theme centered around its peri peri sauces, aka African Bird’s Eye chili.

Nando’s does most of its business outside South Africa in at least at least 1094 Nando‘s locations in 30 countries including: U.K.: 339; Australia: 264; South Africa: 259; Malaysia: 56; U.S: 31 and Canada: 30.

African countries where Nando’s does business include Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“Nando’s is proudly South African,” said Geoff Whyte‚ CEO of Nando’s South Africa‚ in a statement, according to TimesLive. “The American poultry that has landed in South Africa does not find its way into your Nando’s meal.”

His statement followed a radio report in which South African Trade Minister Rob Davies said Nando’s uses imported U.S. chicken, TimesLive reported.

“We’d like to set the record straight‚” Whyte said. Nando’s South Africa uses only fresh‚ whole chickens while U.S. chicken parts arrive in South Africa frozen, he said. “Nando’s will always serve only South African chicken.”

Nando’s opened its first U.S. restaurant in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown in 2008. It has 31 locations in the Washington-Baltimore region and Chicago, and opened its seventh Northern Virginia location in April, according to WTOP.