3 March 2016

South Africa: SA Concludes Negotiation On AGOA Meat Issue

Photo: The Guardian Nigeria

Pretoria — Government has concluded negotiations on poultry, beef and pork with the United States, a move that brings to a close months of discussions with the US on the terms required for South Africa to secure its position in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said the first shipment of poultry (frozen chicken legs) arrived at the Port of Durban and was cleared by the Port Health Authorities. This will allow the products to be placed on South African retail shelves before the 15 March 2016 deadline.

According to the Dti, US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman has communicated his satisfaction to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies.

Froman said he will recommend that US President Barack Obama lift the threat of suspension of South Africa's agricultural concessions under AGOA.

Minister Davies has thanked all South African stakeholders in the poultry, beef and pork sectors, the AGOA agriculture beneficiaries in the wine, macadamia nuts, citrus sectors and the public at large for their patience and understanding during the very complex negotiation.

South Africa and the United States have already started facilitating access to the import quota on chicken legs to newly emerging business from previously disadvantaged communities.

The Minister said the process of discussing market access for SA products to the US is continuing.

"Discussions are under way to facilitate exports of SA products to the US in a number of products, including chicken breast, ostrich meat, avocados and mangos."

He said progress has already been made with South African litchis accessing the US market at the beginning of 2016.

The understandings reached will also create new opportunities to deepen the trade and investment relations between the US, South Africa and the African continent as a whole.

AGOA is a legislation that provides duty-free market access to the US for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries by extending preferences on more than 4 600 products. AGOA was re-authorised in June 2015 for 10 years until 2025, with South Africa's inclusion.

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