2016 to 2018

Special Report 

SPECIAL REPORT: REFLECTION ON TWO YEARS OF ADVOCATING FOR RURAL WORKERS AGAINST PREDATORY TRADE PRACTICES

Two years on from our founding in October 2016 the FairPlay movement reflects upon its achievements in the fight to end the scourge of dumping as an immoral trade practice. FairPlay was founded for a single purpose: to end predatory trade practices between countries so that big and small nations play by the same rules. From the outset the heart of FairPlay’s mission is to defend communities that are being victimized by unfair international trade and to promote sustainable livelihoods.

The following highlights some of the achievements and key milestones over the past two years:

  • The public agenda is now focused on dumping in the chicken and sugar industries
  • Government and the industry and the unions are coordinating in the efforts to support, sustain and grow these industries
  • The EU safeguard tariff is gazetted for chicken and there was a tariff correction on sugar
  • The biofuels policy, essential to sugar industry diversification, is officially back on track for implementation

Our Social Support Summit brought together leaders from across a broad spectrum of civil society and was the start of our ongoing efforts to be a catalyst of support for those impacted by predatory trade

“If the facts establish predatory dumping – that the party or parties dumping have as their motive or one of their motives the destruction of South African competitors – then the rule of law and fair play in trade dictate that on moral and legal grounds action should be taken.”
– Justice Richard Goldstone, Patron, FairPlay

The wisdom, support and gravitas of our patron, Justice Richard Goldstone, an internationally renowned jurist and human rights champion, has been a beacon for our work. In delivering the keynote address at FairPlay’s Social Support Summit, Justice Goldstone said that the government should act to prevent predatory dumping, which he defined as dumped imports designed to kill the local industry.

The task is by no means complete. But substantial progress has been made and much has been achieved in building partnerships, advancing collaboration between companies and their workers, engaging media, mobilizing public support, providing fact-based thought leadership, protecting consumers and building constructive relations with government.

Without FairPlay’s interventions, Coca-Cola and AMIE and the EU and Brazil would still be unchallenged, unchanged and wholly uninterested in any good but their own. We have changed public policy and execution for the better, we are making a real difference to people’s lives and we are contributing to solutions that will have a lasting, positive socio-economic impact. Together with our partners we have come a long way to protect jobs and to support rural communities. But much remains to be done and the fight goes on.

FAIRPLAY COLLABORATES WITH WORKERS TO BUILD STRONG PARTNERSHIPS AGAINST UNFAIR TRADE

“Having a movement such as FairPlay take hands with chicken and sugar industry workers, who are breadwinners for thousands of families in rural South Africa, has contributed in a meaningful way to FAWU’s message. We simply have to stop dumping to protect our local jobs, and FairPlay’s involvement has been invaluable in putting pressure and holding government accountable.” Katishi Masemola, General Secretary of the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU)

Trade union partners are very active and supportive of the FairPlay campaigns to support workers and to save jobs in the chicken and sugar industries. Over the course of the past two years FairPlay has been active in supporting the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) in a number of marches to bring the plight of rural workers into focus and to press for government support to end predatory trade practices.

Soon after the launch of the FairPlay movement management and staff of companies such as Astral Foods, RCL FOODS, and Country Bird Holdings lent their full support to their workers and FAWU that represents them. They committed to join in a series of protest marches calling for urgent government intervention to stop the dumping of chicken imports onto the South African market that is threatening tens of thousands of workers’ jobs, the stability of rural communities and the future of an entire indigenous South African industry that is supporting 120,000 direct and indirect employees.

Nearly two years ago, members of FairPlay, company executives, union workers and management employees marched to the European Union offices in Pretoria to demand an end to the dumping of cheap chicken imports into South Africa that is destroying the local industry.

Similarly FairPlay has joined forces with The South African Farmers Development Association (SAFDA) and sugar growers and millers from across the country to urge government support for the sugar industry that is threatened by a massive surge in imports.

The protests received widespread media coverage and received strong backing from various elected officials and a commitment of support by the Department of Trade and Industry to urgently address the issues raised.

PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THEIR FAMILIES BY ADVOCATING FOR STRONGER FOOD SAFETY MEASURES

Over the course of the past two years FairPlay has been raising issues of food safety that put the health of South African consumers at risk through lax inspections of imports and unsafe labelling.

“We should be fighting for importers to be subject to the same rules as local producers.” – Francois Baird, FairPlay

In 2017, FairPlay founder, Francois Baird, citing concerns about food safety and traceability, urged an enquiry into unsafe labelling of chicken imports.

Earlier this year South Africa’s listeriosis outbreak claimed the lives of more than 200 people. FairPlay has consistently expressed concerns over the tardy review of local food safety legislation and its perceived laxity, and has said the Department of Health is failing to protect South African consumers.

In July of this year FairPlay spokesperson Melinda Shaw said: “The outbreak of listeriosis highlighted the urgent need for packaging of all imported meat products to comply with the same regulations demanded of local products, which ensures full traceability and accountability.”

At the beginning of this year FairPlay called for the playing field to be levelled for everyone including importers, and for the same rules of production and packaging to be applied across the board. Additionally FairPlay raised attention to the dangers of food products from various establishments in Brazil suspected of fraudulently evading food safety checks.

As FairPlay founder, Francois Baird noted during the height of the listeriosis outbreak, “we should be fighting for importers to be subject to the same rules as local producers. Imported product can be sold here as potentially coming from nine countries on three continents, making traceability difficult, if not impossible. In addition to deficiencies in labelling requirements for imported product, there are very worrying health risks in thawing and repackaging of frozen bulk imports. Extreme vigilance is needed. South African consumer safety must come first!”

Essential to protecting South African consumers is the establishment of a national food control agency. In September of this year FairPlay’s Lionel Adendorf met with the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of South Africa’s National Consumer Commission. FairPlay continues to campaign for the establishment of a national, integrated food control agency.

FAIRPLAY: ENGAGING WITH MEDIA TO INFORM AND MOBILIZE PUBLIC SUPPORT

Since the launch of the movement in October 2016 FairPlay has engaged extensively with local, national and international media to raise awareness and mobilize public support against unfair trade practices. Over 100 print articles and a number of television and radio interviews tell the story of the plight of workers in the chicken and sugar industries and the impact that predatory trade is having on their livelihoods and their families.

“The dedication of Melinda Shaw and her FairPlay colleagues continues to play a significant role in protecting the poultry industry from the existential threat posed by dumping.” Dr Charlotte Nkuna, SAPA

Last June, The South African Poultry Association acknowledged the work of the FairPlay anti-dumping movement with an award presented to FairPlay’s Melinda Shaw at the AVI Africa poultry conference in Johannesburg. AVI Africa is the biggest poultry conference and exhibition in Africa.

In accepting the award Shaw noted: “In the last few years at least 6 000 jobs have been lost due to the uncontrolled dumping from the EU. In a country with one of the highest unemployment figures in the world this cannot be left unchallenged, and that is what FairPlay has stood for since the start – creating awareness about the destructive effects of dumping.”

In presenting the award Dr Charlotte Nkuna, CEO of SAPA acknowledged FairPlay’s notable successes since launch, after creating, virtually overnight, an international organisation with the capacity, skills and reach to defend and protect the vital yet vulnerable South African poultry industry.

“The dedication of Melinda Shaw and her FairPlay colleagues continues to play a significant role in protecting the poultry industry from the existential threat posed by dumping. As a result of FairPlay’s activities, it has influenced the government’s decision to increase tariffs on imported poultry and has been able to exert pressure on the government to create a special task team to investigate and make recommendations on required actions to protect the industry from predators, achieve a steady state and position it for growth,” said Nkuna.

FAIRPLAY: PROVIDING FACT-BASED THOUGHT LEADERSHIP IN THE FIGHT FOR FAIR TRADE

From the outset of our campaigns against predatory trade in the sugar and chicken industries those countries that are abusing their trading relationships in Africa have been in denial, often spreading misinformation and obfuscating facts.

FairPlay has assembled a team of national and international experts and the work of our Expert Panel has been critical to building fact-based evidence and winning the arguments in the court of public opinion. FairPlay has countered with fact-based evidence on dumping, revealing that EU frozen chicken cuts are routinely exported at half the price in Europe and well below the cost of production. FairPlay also exposed the blatant deficiencies in South Africa’s sugar tariff regime.

FairPlay has also revealed the hypocrisy of the EU’s managed trade regime with its 38 tariffs to prop up its inefficient chicken industry while insisting on the abandonment of any use of quantitative restrictions on imports from the EU under its trade agreements with African countries.

Similarly FairPlay has called out the massive income support and subsidy payments to sugar producers in the US, Europe and Brazil

FAIRPLAY: DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY FROM THOSE WHO PROFIT FROM UNFAIR TRADE

From the very beginning FairPlay has called out those who profit massively from dumped imports. Early in our campaign, FairPlay founder Francois Baird took South Africa’s Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) to task noting that dumped chicken produced massive profits for importers while at the same time causing misery for thousands of workers who are losing their jobs.

Baird called for an enquiry into the chicken importing business. “It’s time for a thorough public investigation into the importing business and the profits made from buying dumped chicken and destroying South African jobs.”

AMIE tried unsuccessfully to silence us with legal threats early in our campaigns. But FairPlay refused to be bullied be erroneous legal challenges and stood firm, backed up by our own legal team.

Similarly FairPlay sprang into action when it was revealed that Coca Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) was importing sugar at a time when the South Africa sugar industry was amassing surpluses because of the global sugar supply glut, mostly from Brazil.

FairPlay persisted in challenging CCBSA and after weeks of, at times, contentious communications was able to meet with CCSBA and work out a plan of action and a joint strategy. Under the agreement between CCBSA and FairPlay, a united effort will be developed to support the local sugar industry and smallscale growers. Additionally CCBSA committed to help support efforts to diversify South Africa’s sugar industry

FAIRPLAY: ENGAGING WITH GOVERNMENT TO FIND CONSTRUCTIVE SOLUTIONS

The support of policy makers is essential to not only saving existing jobs but also creating news jobs by growing the sugar and chicken industries.

FairPlay has actively and consistently engaged with government and its agencies to find solutions to the current crises facing rural workers and South Africa’s agricultural industries.

FairPlay has been front and centre in the campaign to exempt chicken from VAT. This not only would help to address the high prevalence of under-nourishment among South African children but it could also help stimulate growth in the chicken industry.

FairPlay has engaged extensively with government to advocate
for the need for safeguard trade measures to support the
chicken industry.

Similarly FairPlay has been vocally supportive of the President’s
economic stimulus incentives.

FairPlay has presented a number of briefs in support of a workable tariff regime to protect the sugar industry and has been actively engaged in promoting government task force initiatives to address challenges facing both the chicken and sugar industries.

FAIRPLAY: REACHING OUT TO INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

From the beginning, FairPlay has recognized that predatory trade threatens livelihoods throughout the world. Our focus is on vulnerable communities everywhere that unfair trade threatens livelihoods

Our founder, Francois Baird, also serves on the Board of the Washington DC based Initiative for Global Development (IGD). IGD promotes US-Africa business investment by advising, educating and forging partnerships between the US and African private sectors for sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity. FairPlay has been grateful that IGD has provided us with a platform to carry our message to the global community.

Through DEVEX, a network of over one million global development professionals, we published an article highlighting the plight of rural workers in Africa who have suffered from the EU’s predatory trade practices.

We have networked with the ACTAlliance, a community of over 100 faith-based activists in Europe and have recently applied for membership in the COCORD alliance of civil society organizations around the world. In Africa we have reached out to activists in Ghana and Cameroon who have faced similar challenges in their poultry sectors and we are honoured that Ralph Nordjo is FairPlay’s partner in Ghana. Ralph Nordjo is a development economist and the executive director of the Africa Consensus Centre – Ghana.

In the coming year, FairPlay intends to engage actively in the negotiations surrounding the replacement of the Cotonou Agreement that is the partnership framework between the EU and developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions. Similarly we are closely monitoring the evolution of African Continental Free trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the pending negotiations between the UK and South Africa to enter into a post-Brexit trade agreement.

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.

 

FAIRPLAY CHICKEN CAMPAIGN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Follow FairPlay Social Media on  @FairPlayZA     http://www.facebook.com/fairplayZA/







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