David Wolpert, lobbyist for the chicken importers (Mystery chicken dumpers, August24), need wonder no more. The source of dumped chicken imports is no mystery. Details are published monthly by the South African Revenue Service.
Figures for May show that bone-in imports (mainly leg and thigh portions) were dominated by Brazil (33%) followed by the US (25%) and Belgium (21%), showing that after EU imports were halted by bird flu Brazil took up the slack.
These imports are coming into Durban at between R14/kg-R18/kg. But of course Wolpert knows this. He has presumably also noticed how prices are adjusted to result in an almost uniform R20/kg after import duties. Brazil, subject to 37% duties, sells at R14.30 and the postduty price is R19.59. EU countries can sell at R18 because they only pay 13% duties, bringing the price to R20. All of this is greatly lower than the producer prices in any of the countries concerned.
Dumped chicken is killing a competitive local industry, taking jobs away from the rural poor and strangling small towns.
SA demonstrated dumping from the EU, which was selling leg quarters to SA at about R14/kg in 2015. We can see where the new supplies are coming from, and at what prices. When the EU cost of producing chicken is about R25/kg, dumping is still taking place.
The real mystery is where the resulting vast profits are being made when the imports are sold at just below local producers’ prices. Who is profiteering from dumping? Is it Wolpert’s member importers? Is it some other middlemen? Is it the retailers? SA would be very interested in Wolpert’s answers.
Unscrupulous people are making fat profits at the cost of thousands of South African jobs.
FairPlay is an advocate for playing by the rules and adhering to the letter and spirit of the rule of law. Dumping may not break legislation, but it is predatory and unconscionable.
First published in Business Day on 30 August 2017