International trade

EU countries looking to shake off bird flu bans

For South Africa’s chicken farmers, there’s an ominous note in the June 2022 imports report from the SA Poultry Association (SAPA).

Bird flu outbreaks are tapering off in the European summer, which could mean a resumption of chicken dumping from EU countries.

Four of those countries – Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain – have been told that they can dump chicken here for the next year and no action will be taken against them. South Africa will not accept their poultry at the moment because of bird flu bans.

In its June imports report, SAPA says outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) have slowed or ended in some EU exporting nations – Ireland, Belgium, Hungary and Denmark. Other countries continue to experience a few new outbreaks (UK, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, France and Germany).

There is no indication of how long it will be before the four dumpers are declared free of bird flu and licensed once again to send chicken to South Africa. But if bird flu is lessening in the EU, a resumption of exports may well happen before the 12-month suspension of anti-dumping duties ends next year.

That would mean South African producers facing another flood of unfairly priced and dumped chicken from the EU. That would harm the local industry and cause the job losses that the new anti-dumping duties were supposed to prevent.