FAIRPLAY MOVEMENT JOINS SUGARCANE FARMERS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS IN A MARCH TO SAVE THE SUGAR INDUSTRY

On June 26, the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) in Pretoria heard an application by the SA Sugar Association for a tariff proposal that could help save the industry and thousands of jobs threatened by predatory sugar imports. The application has the support of the entire industry, from bosses to workers, from small and large sugar growers to sugar producers, millers and unions.

Meanwhile, outside in the streets of Pretoria the FairPlay movement against predatory trade joined hundreds of workers, sugarcane farmers and industry leaders from KZN and Mpumalanga in a march to the Department of Trade and Industry to voice their concerns about the insufficient tariff currently in place.

FairPlay believes that the sugar industry should be an engine of growth for South Africa and neighbouring countries, which requires the implementation of an ethanol mandate, promotion of biogas for power generation and ensuring that the industrial and pharmaceutical uses of sugar is applied to create a sustainable sugar industry.

FairPlay also wants the tariffs on sugar to be changed more regularly and easily than is currently the case. Francois Baird, FairPlay founder, explains; “We believe that a more flexible and responsive tariff regime is one element of achieving a sustainable industry. When circumstances change, there should be an immediate response. If South Africa can change the price of petrol at short notice in response to world markets, surely a tariff against predatory imports to create a level playing field for thousands of sugar workers could also be changed when required.”

GUILTY!

Dumping is defined in the Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of the GATT 1994 (The AntiDumping Agreement) as the introduction of a product into the commerce of another country at less than its normal value.

Further the European Commission has its own definition that is even more stringent: “A non-EU company is ‘dumping‘ if it exports a product to the EU at a price lower than the normal value of the product. The normal value is either product’s price as sold on the home market of the non-EU company, or a price based on the cost of production and profit.”

Going even further the European Commission elaborates “Since December 2017 the EU has an alternative method to calculate dumped imports if state interference significantly distorts the economy of the exporting country”.

No other trading partner in the world can provide a more glaring example of state interference than the EU with its trade distorting agricultural support payments that by the EU Commission’s own admission accounts for 46 percent of farm income in the EU.

According to data from the EU market access database and published in a paper by Paul Goodison the landed price of frozen cuts from the EU is €0.90 per kilogram. Additionally according to a study done by Waginengen University,

Europe’s foremost agricultural university production costs in the EU are €1.52 per kilogram. This is higher than production costs in other poultry producing countries but EU state interference through its subsidy programmes and trade barriers prevents import competition to ensure profitability. By any definition chicken dumping by the EU is an open and shut case.

FAIRPLAY MEETS WITH GERMAN EMBASSY IN SOUTH AFRICA TO DISCUSS FAIR TRADE

Francois Baird, founder of the FairPlay Movement, met with Erik Schneider, Head of Agriculture at the German Embassy this week to discuss amongst other things, the challenges and opportunities of the South African sugar and poultry industries with an eye on the Cotonou negotiations that will take place in September.

The meeting with the Embassy follows on comments made earlier this year by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Europe’s trade agreements with African nations are “skewed” and “not right” Germany’s chief Africa envoy Gunter Nooke has elaborated much further noting during an interview with German media that trade agreements between the EU and African states “are no success stories neither for Africa nor for Europe” and that they are “neither a partnership nor an agreement.”

Amongst EU countries, Germany leads in recognizing the plight of the poultry industry in particular and the need to align European international development policy with the UN’s Social Development Goals.

FAIRPLAY CALLS ON LEADERS IN BRITAIN TO REJECT THE EU’S SORRY HISTORY OF PREDATORY TRADE PRACTICES WITH AFRICAN STATES POST BREXIT

As Britain prepares to enter into bilateral and multilateral trade agreements once it leaves the European Union, it has the opportunity to show its leadership in both international trade and in development by structuring a trading system that recognizes the importance of sensitive agricultural sectors like poultry and sugar. For instance, Britain must consider the significance of the sugar industry in Africa and understand the need for sustainable sugar prices in low and middle-income countries and recognize the developmental benefits of the sugar trade.

FairPlay points out that the European Union has a long and sorry history of practicing a predatory approach to agricultural trade with developing countries by massively subsiding its agricultural industry. The EU encourages and supports over-production in sugar and poultry and then dumps its surplus production in Africa and other developing regions.

This has already devastated the chicken industry in Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon and is having the same impact in South Africa. Now sugar producers in Africa are facing a similar fate as the EU removes restrictions on limiting EU sugar production while at the same time increasing subsidies to Europe’s sugar beet producers.

FAIRPLAY EXPOSES FALSE PREMISE CLAIMS OF DAVID WOLPERT MADE ON BEHALF OF SOUTH AFRICA’S MEAT IMPORTERS

In a letter published in Business Day, FairPlay founder Francois Baird calls out the claims by meat importers that South Africa’s poultry industry is “flourishing”.

Baird’s letter notes that the financial results recently released by Astral, the country’s largest chicken producer, asserts that “continued high levels of imports from Europe , Brazil and the USA are equivalent to 40 percent of domestic production.”

Last year Astral warned that “continued high level of poultry imports, with weak tariff protection, has allowed foreign produced poultry to become entrenched in the local market, leading to a contraction in production”.

Baird highlighted callous disregard of meat importers to the plight of South African workers. “The industry is shrinking, thousands of jobs are being lost, imports are heading towards half of the local market, but Wolpert and his fellow importers say imports are no threat. And then he talks about “fake news” said Baird.

The FairPlay Movement is a not-for-profit trade movement that fights for jobs. Its goal is to end predatory trade practices between countries so that big and small nations play by the same rules. It supports the principle that penalties for transgressing those rules apply equally to everybody. FairPlay was founded in October 2016. In alliance with existing organisations and experts it formulates and promotes strategies to defend communities made vulnerable by predatory trade practices and promote sustainable livelihoods.

These alliance partners are international, currently from the USA, Canada, UK, Ghana and South Africa. FairPlay mission: To end the scourge of dumping as an immoral trade practice. FairPlay vision: A world where dumping no longer exists, with free trade according to the rules.







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