South Africa applies for anti-dumping duties on chicken

10-03-2021 | | |
Frozen chicken portions   primarily bone-in   are being dumped into the South African poultry market, says SAPA s GM, Izaak Breitenbach.  Photo: topntp26
Frozen chicken portions primarily bone-in are being dumped into the South African poultry market, says SAPA s GM, Izaak Breitenbach. Photo: topntp26

The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) has applied for anti-dumping duties on imported chicken from Brazil and 4 EU nations, namely Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain.

GM of SAPA’s broiler organisation, Izaak Breitenbach, confirmed that unfair practices have been raised in discussions with EU representatives in South Africa and with the EU export organisation AVEC.

Poultry dumping, unfair competition

“We have proof that these countries have been dumping frozen chicken portions onto the South African market, which is unfair competition for local producers, big and small, and costs local jobs,” said Breitenbach. “They are bringing frozen chicken portions into South Africa, often at prices lower than their production costs, and/or lower than they are selling the same product in their home markets. This not only constitutes dumping under World Trade Organisation (WTO) and South African rules, it is unfair because it creates jobs in producer countries while stifling economic growth here,” he said, adding that dumping margins up to 201% have been found.

Breitenbach said that the anti-dumping application, which is causing material injury to South Africa’s industry, despite the existing tariffs, is supported by a vast number of organisations and entities, from grain producers, smallholder farmers, and contract growers to the majority union in the chicken industry and companies dependent on the poultry value chain, such as equipment suppliers and feed suppliers.

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South Africa a target for dumping surplus chicken

“The fact that we now have evidence of dumping by 9 countries shows the extent to which South Africa is a target for countries dumping surplus chicken. Applying for anti-dumping duties is an expensive process, but our industry is under continuous attack from unfair competition, so we have no choice but to act. As much as R6.1 billion (US$ 403 million) leaves the country every year through poultry imports only. This in a country with an expanded unemployment rate of 43%. Just imagine the positive impact it would have on the economy and on job creation if that amount was instead invested locally.”

The purpose of the applications is to “level the playing field”, says Breitenbach, noting that the situation has become more precarious since Covid-19 disrupted retail globally, so that chicken-producing countries all sit with overflowing cold-storage facilities and are looking around for markets to target with this surplus. Speaking about the anti-dumping duties imposed on the 5 countries, Breitenbach concludes: “I am absolutely confident that we’ve plugged enough holes to see an improvement in the local industry.”

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Exports to UAE a win for SA poultry

Meanwhile, the South African government has successfully negotiated a new export certificate for poultry products the United Arab Emirates. SAPA expects access to more countries to follow soon, and steps are being taken to facilitate exports to the country’s neighbours belonging to the South African Customs Union, namely South Africa and Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia.

Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist