Cheap chicken imports flooding the South African market, with dumping margins as high as 201%, have spurred the South African Poultry Organisation (Sapa) to yet again lobby for the institution of duties in the sector against Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain.
This comes as the broiler body claims it has proof that chicken from these countries is imported into South African for less than the price of its production at source.
It’s not the first time Sapa has turned to the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) of South Africa to institute dumping duties in a bid to safeguard the local poultry sector against uncompetitive practices.
According to Sapa, the quality of local poultry is undermined by the low cost of production in certain countries who are desperate to dump excess stock, especially after surplus levels substantially increased during the height of last year’s coronavirus pandemic.
Apart from turning to Itac, Sapa has also alerted representatives from the European Union (EU) and the EU’s export organisation, Avec.
More specifically, Sapa has asked that an investigation be launched into the price of frozen chicken products in the countries of origin, and what their export price is to South Africa.
According to Sapa, poultry exporters to South Africa are so eager to dump their surplus, sitting in an extensive network of cold-chain facilities, they are prepared to ship product for whatever price they can get – at an estimated annual cost of R6.1 billion to the local industry.
Itac is expected to take 12 months before making its submission to Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Ebrahim Patel.
The battle against dumping has been a long one.
Over the last five years chicken imports, driven by prices much lower than it costs to produce poultry at home, increased by 73%.
Over a 20-year period, it’s been reported that depressed production has continued to taper off while imports have increased by 400% cumulatively.