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FairPlay welcomes government stimulus plan

MEDIA RELEASE
1 August 2018

FairPlay welcomes government stimulus plan

The FairPlay movement against predatory trade practices has welcomed the South African government’s planned stimulus package which focuses on job creation and includes job protection measures such as trade support for local industries affected by import surges (otherwise known as dumping).
This comes as the government missed its self-imposed deadline to resolve the issue of sugar tariff protection by the end of July, as promised by the DTI’s Lionel October at a march to ITAC by the sugar industry in June.

“Crocodile trade such as dumped imports have cost thousands of jobs in the sugar and chicken industries and we have been calling for trade protection against dumping for some time,” said Francois Baird, founder of FairPlay, which fights for jobs and economic growth against unfair trade practices.

“Both of these important and strategic industries have been shrinking when they should be expanding and creating jobs. If the import surges or dumping continue, two of the largest industries in South Africa’s agricultural sector are at risk, together with hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Baird said it is vital that government acts speedily to prevent further job losses.

“The chicken and sugar industries need tariff support urgently because dumped imports have been rising exponentially.

“I hope this very welcome statement by President Ramaphosa means that government will stop dragging its heels on this issue,” Baird said.

“The government appointed a task team in 2016 to find solutions to the chicken industry crisis, but there’s been no report on what it has achieved or proposes. The sugar industry has been suffering because of a surge in dumped imports facilitated by tariff protection measures which have been slow and ineffective.

“Job protection is just as important as job creation, but more immediate and probably a lot cheaper,” Baird said.

FairPlay also welcomes the stimulus package focus on new investment and localisation, and renewed the call for chicken to be freed from Value Added Tax which will not only support the industry but bring much needed relief to desperate consumers.

Said Baird, “Our sugar and chicken industries need to expand and create jobs. This is where the stimulus package can help.

“An ethanol mix in our petrol would reduce our oil purchases while creating jobs in a new ethanol industry and in an expanded sugar industry. Our chicken industry could replace the hundreds of thousands of tons of mechanically deboned meat (MDM) currently imported from Brazil to supply processed meat manufacturers.

“Investment incentives for local ethanol and MDM production need urgent attention. Together with proper tariff protection, that would revitalise our sugar and chicken industries.

“The resultant agricultural and agribusiness expansion would spur economic growth in poverty-stricken rural areas, where jobs have been lost and communities are suffering because of dumped imports,” Baird said. ENDS

Media enquiries:
Melinda Shaw, Melinda.shaw@fairplaymovement.org
+27 82 3766035

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