South African poultry import tariff decision delayed
The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) has stated that it needs more time to deliberate on whether import tariffs will be imposed to poultry products entering the country.
If imposed the tariffs on chicken imported into the country could increase by as much as 300%. The Itac met with South African Poultry Association who proposed that the current duty of 27% on whole birds be increased to a maximum of 82%, or R11.11 per kilogram. Duties on bone-in portions are proposed to increase from R2.20 per kilogram to R6.53 per kilogram, almost three times the existing amount.
The commission, which said it heard and considered both written and verbal submissions, determined that it needed more time before making a final decision. This has accordingly been postponed until the commission's next meeting on July 9.
The application has been vehemently opposed by the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE), which says that the tariff increases will cause chicken prices to go up by between 30% and 50% at the tills.
"We are genuinely fearful that South African consumers are going to be facing heavy increases on the price of chicken," AMIE chief executive David Wolpert told local media Mail & Guardian. Further opposition comes from food distribution company Merlog foods and South African retailer Boxer.
SAPA chief executive Kevin Lovell, said that price hikes were needed for South Africa's poultry suppliers to survive in an environment where farmers are facing mounting costs and a rising number of cheap imports.
South Africa’s largest poultry producer, Rainbow Chicken, reported a "glut" of chicken in the market in its 2012 financial report. The oversupply meant that "the pricing of chicken in retail bears no reference to its cost of production", it said.
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