South Africa: Feathers Fly in Poultry Tariff Standoff

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The SA Poultry Association has lobbied the International Trade Commission of South Africa to increase import tariffs on chicken from Brazil to a staggering 82%. Obviously, offshore associations are opposed to the plan, but the sentiment is also shared by local importers and exporters.

The Department of Trade and Industry has said it will announce a decision on the chicken tariff issue by the end of August, but it is not one it is taking lightly. Minister Ebrahim Patel told reporters ahead of his budget vote in Parliament in July that striking the right balance between preserving the local industry while keeping poultry affordable would remain a challenge.

The South African National Consumers Union told Fin24 the price of chicken could increase by between 20-30% if the proposed tariff change was imposed.

Furthermore, opponents of the form of protectionism say this approach has not only failed to defend the envisioned goalposts in the past, but the debate is drawing the country's eye to the wrong ballgame altogether.

In February, the SA Poultry Association (Sapa) reported that chicken imports had surged to a new high in 2018, while South African chicken importers have dismissed Sapa's claims as a tactic to protect...

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