Chicken import tariffs raised

By Drum Digital
30 September 2013

Import tariffs for whole birds would see the biggest increase, from 27 percent to the maximum 82 percent allowed by the World Trade Organisation.

Import tariffs for poultry have been raised by an average of 8.75 percent, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies announced on Monday.

"We introduced a differentiated set of increases and the first one is what's called whole bird... this is the upper income market, this is less than one percent of the total poultry imports over the last 12 months and in this case we have imposed the highest duty increase," Davies told reporters in Pretoria. The duty increases for carcasses, offal, and bone-in portions were less drastic. "Bone-in portions, these are for lower income segments... it's about 70 percent of domestic production and the industry is at a significant price disadvantage," Davies said. "The import tariff is changed from a specific duty of 220 cents per kg to an ad valorem duty of 37 percent."

This meant the import rate had changed from around 17 percent to 37 percent for bone-in chicken.

These white meat cuts represented around 54 percent of total poultry imports over the past year.

"In respect of carcasses... the conclusion was that the domestic industry is at a significant price disadvantage, but this remains a significant source of protein to lower income people and here the tariff is increased slightly from 27 percent to 31 percent," Davies said. Carcass imports represented about two percent of the total poultry imports over the past year. Import duties for offal were also slightly increased from 27 percent to 31 percent. "Offal, the domestic industry is at a significant price disadvantagebut this is an important source of protein to poor households," said Davies.

The most expensive cut -- boneless chicken -- represented around 11 percent of imports over the past year.

"What we call boneless cuts... mostly consumed by higher income households... this we've seen [local producers] is also at a price disadvantage and the tariffs increased from five to 12 percent."

The decision followed an application by the SA Poultry Association to the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) to increase the tariffs in March this year.

The ITAC made its recommendation to Davies last month, after consultation with stakeholders including SAPA and chicken importers.

The tariff increases are effective immediately.

-by Sapa

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