Dumping and predatory trade

Baird vs Wolpert in Business Day

A dispute between FairPlay and David Wolpert, the previous CEO of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, took place in Business Day, a leading South African financial newspaper.

FairPlay founder Francois Baird took issue with an argument by Wolpert that, if importers were making fat profits by not passing on to consumers the low costs of dumped chicken imports, as South African poultry producers claimed, then the imports could not be harming those producers.

“Why then do we see one tariff investigation after another aimed at punishing importers, and in the process consumers?” Wolpert had asked.

Baird replied that poultry producers had been explaining for years just how much harm they had suffered.

“Chicken imports are priced at, or just below, local chicken products. As producers have explained in many applications for antidumping duties, the result is price suppression (they cannot recover rising input costs), cost build-ups, decreased production and sales, and lower profits,” he wrote.

“The evidence submitted of this material injury has resulted in antidumping duties against nine producer countries (not “punishing importers” but ensuring fair trade and compliance with international trade rules). If Wolpert has studied these applications as he says he has (and for years he headed the importers’ association, which opposed the applications), he would know this well.”

A friendly put-down over what is a very serious matter.