The South African government’s delay in blocking dumped chicken imports is creating jobs in Brazil instead of in South Africa, according to FairPlay founder Francois Baird.
The advocacy group has been a vocal critic of the decision last August by Minister of Trade Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel to hold back on his approval of new anti-dumping duties on imports of Brazilian frozen chicken portions, and to delay the imposition of those duties for 12 months.
In an opinion article published in the Business Day, Baird said the Brazilian economy was recovering and its poultry industry expanding. Yet Patel’s decision effectively supported job creation there “while our own economy — and the poultry industry consequently — sheds jobs and fights for its life”.
“Trade Data Monitor, a platform which collects trade data among nations, shows that imports of poultry from Brazil to SA skyrocketed from R2.2 billion in 2020 to R3.3bn in 2021, leading to Brazil’s import market share soaring from 44% to nearly 73%.
“This trend is continuing, with local trade data showing that chicken imports rose for a fifth successive month through to March 2023, exceeding the imports of the same period in 2022. Though dropping slightly in April, the trendline remains upward, with import volumes for the first four months of the year now the highest in four years.
“This level of competition from a country found guilty of dumping chicken in SA is crippling for SA poultry businesses. Independent surveys have found the SA poultry industry to be highly efficient, producing chicken more cheaply than all EU countries. However, no industry can compete with dumped imports,” Baird said.
From 2011 to 2017, about 9 000 poultry industry workers are estimated to have lost their jobs due to the dumping from other countries, including Brazil, the US and EU.
This showed why the government should impose the anti-dumping duties on Brazil rather than opt for a further delay.
“With the option to act presenting itself a second time, we urge Minister Patel to choose SA over Brazil this time,” Baird said.