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How about an entry price for EU chicken?

The complete overhaul of the tariff structure for poultry imports, ordered by Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, includes consideration of an entry price system.

Support for this idea has come from Brussels-based epamonitoring.net, an independent organisation that keeps an eye on the impact on other countries of the European Union’s economic partnership agreements, or EPAs. It is this trade deal with the EU that opened the South African market to massive volumes of dumped EU chicken, which came in duty-free.

Now, Minister Patel wants the local regulator, ITAC, to review the poultry tariff structure. He has asked ITAC to look at a variety of options including specific duties and anti-dumping measures, rebates for exporters and other possible measures “such as an entry price system”.

Epamonitoring likes the entry price idea. In an article last week, the organisation suggested that it could benefit South Africa’s poultry sector.

The suggestion was based on a fuss over EU imports of tomatoes from Morocco, with calls for the reference price to be reviewed because the imports are harming EU producers. The EU entry price system applies to selected fruit and vegetable products, imposing a specific duty on imports when daily import prices fall below a predetermined minimum entry price.

South Africa should learn from this and follow the EU example, the article says. An entry price is a non-tariff measure intended to prevent the entry of products into the EU at prices which undermine local EU production

“What is clear is that in the ongoing debate with the EU on the use of defensive trade policy tools in the poultry sector, the South African government and stakeholders should repeatedly refer to the EU’s own trade policy practice in sensitive agri-food sectors.”

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