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Exports alone cannot save South Africa’s poultry industry

Increased exports are an important objective for South Africa ‘s poultry industry. But South Africa cannot export enough to make up for the massive volumes of imported chicken, especially predatory imports.

In a recent article published in the Business Day, Paul Matthew, the head of AMIE (the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters of South Africa) makes the self-serving claim that flooding the country with dumped foreign imports is okay because the domestic industry can save itself though exports.

As FairPlay’s Francois Baird noted in his reply, Matthew knows that chicken exports to the EU are not hampered by the industry, but by EU regulations designed to protect European poultry producers by keeping imports out, along with a serious shortage of SA government veterinary resources.

According to Baird, Matthew also knows that a new anti-dumping application by the local industry is imminent. The industry has said it has evidence of dumping by Brazil and four EU countries. If that application is granted, it would restrict chicken imports from these countries.

“This potential loss of profits concerns chicken importers, who have benefited hugely from massive increases in chicken imports over the past two decades. 

“So in the months to come we can expect the usual regurgitation of anti-tariff noise, all of which has been thoroughly debunked, denigrating the local chicken industry – uncompetitive, oligopolies, protectionism, a lack of export focus, imports are needed to meet local demand, etc.”

The facts, as FairPlay regularly points out, are that predatory imports have suppressed the local industry and killed thousands of South African jobs.

The poultry sector master plan aims to constrain imports and encourage expansion and job creation to supply both local and export markets.

As a master plan supporter, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters should back import limitations while explaining to the public what it has done to expand SA’s chicken exports.

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