TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Officials 'happy after AGOA meeting'

Friday, 28 August 2015

Source: Business Report (South Africa)

South Africa and the United States are a bit closer to reaching consensus on chicken and pork imports from the US, the trade and industry ministry said on Thursday.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and the US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman met in Libreville, Gabon on the sidelines of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) on Wednesday.

The two discussed how far South Africa had progressed in meeting demands from the US, which included that the country lift restrictions of US meat imports, to continue receiving benefits under Agoa.

Agoa is the US law which allows millions of dollars of South African exports into the lucrative US market duty-free, including products from the automotive, citrus and wine industries.

“The meeting expressed satisfaction with the fact that South Africa has made significant progress towards resolving the pork and beef market access,” the trade and industry ministry said in a statement.

Restrictions on beef imports were lifted, but the two countries have still not resolved issues around pork and chicken imports due to animal disease outbreaks in the US.

The US had originally proposed that 100 different cuts of pork imports be allowed, but South Africa had only approved ten.

“On the pork issue, South Africa agreed that a significant number of recognisable pork cuts were categorised as low risk and were now accepted for unrestricted sale conditions,” the ministry said on Thursday.

“Discussions are ongoing on an additional list of cuts of interest to the Unites States.”

While poultry associations in South Africa and the US had struck a deal which would have seen South Africa accept an annual quota of 65,000 tons of American chicken, months later no US chicken cuts had made it into the country - with South Africa citing an outbreak of avian flu in some of the country’s states.

The trade and industry ministry said following the meeting in Gabon: “Some additional work still needs to be done on poultry and officials at technical level will meet later next month to try to resolve the outstanding issues.”

The US Congress earlier this year extended Agoa - which was due to expire in September - for another ten years for the 38 other eligible African countries. But it specifically made South Africa’s continued participation dependent on lifting the restrictions on US meat imports and also dropping legislation that would force foreign owners of security companies to sell at least 51 percent of the companies to South Africans.

 

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