Chicken producers want anti-dumping tariffs

Johannesburg - The possible imposition of anti-dumping tariffs on certain chicken cuts is unnecessary, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (Amie) said on Monday.

Local producers had appealed to government to apply anti-dumping duties on certain cuts from the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands, CEO David Wolpert said in a statement.

The International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) started investigating the matter in October last year.

"The whole exercise is nothing more than another attack on a relatively small import industry representing less than 10% of the chicken market in an effort to boost prices at the tills," Wolpert said.

The investigation covered 2012, when "exceptional circumstances" affected the local poultry industry.

These included major regulated cost increases in labour, power, and fuel, plus high maize prices of around R3 000 per metric ton, compared to the current price of around R1 800 per metric ton.

"The investigation period of 2012 is so far removed from current actual market conditions that any investigation over that period would not bear any resemblance to the current market situation," said Wolpert.

SA Poultry Association CEO Kevin Lovell said the dumping of certain poultry parts was unfair trade.

"No one ever wins a trade war, it is just a series of skirmishes. Whatever Itac do decide, it won't resolve the question posed by a global economy to a local market," he said.

The fundamental difference was South Africa was a balanced market, where all parts of the chicken were used, except the blood and feathers, while in Europe only selected parts were eaten.

"They sell that [unused] product at whatever price they could get and that's where the dumping originates," said Lovell.

"Itac are well positioned to make the distinction of the effects caused by dumping and the effects caused by other factors.

"The action is still going for a number of months. What is expected is a temporary or provisional measure."

Following this, all parties would have a chance to present new arguments.

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