Chicken importers should be co-operating with and supporting investigations into whether there is continuing dumping of imported chicken in South Africa, a form of predatory trade that harms local producers and kills local jobs.
Predatory trade in chicken meat has not stopped, despite anti-dumping tariffs against the United States and three European Union countries. It is probably continuing despite the drop in global demand because of the Corona Virus impact on restaurants and fast-food outlets. Dumping will most likely accelerate when markets recover.
The South African chicken industry has said it is conducting anti-dumping investigations against Brazil and an additional four EU countries. Chicken importers, through whose hands all of these imports pass, need to support the investigations, because dumping constitutes unfair trade and is targeted in the Poultry Sector Master Plan which the importers association, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE), signed and to which they are committed.
The most recent position taken by AMIE shows they are not opposed to anti-dumping investigations. AMIE indicated in a recent radio interview that if local chicken producers feel that dumping is occurring, or will occur, they should make a case for anti-dumping duties to South Africa’s trade regulation body, the International Trade Administration Commission.
While this is welcome, AMIE should go further than that. If dumping has occurred, and will occur, and if this has been done through the agency of any of their members, then they have a duty and an obligation to help put it right. Multiple issues are at stake, from South African jobs to food safety and national food security.
They have also undertaken, through the poultry master plan, not only to help contain chicken imports so that the local industry can recover and grow, but also “to act decisively against unfair forms of trade and any attempts to dump products in our market”.
Dumping is pernicious. It is predatory, in that dominant foreign producers are attempting to take over local markets to the detriment of local producers. Predatory trade practices have severely affected the chicken industry and other vulnerable producers such as textiles, milk, cement and steel.
FairPlay has for years said there has been dumping of chicken and other agricultural commodities from dominant producers like Brazil and the EU. The evidence is available and in the public domain through, for example SARS statistics, which can support applications for anti-dumping tariffs.
FairPlay calls on all agricultural sectors that are and have been the victims of dumping to put in anti-dumping applications as a matter of urgency. Post-Covid-19, things are going to get much worse and action must be taken now to limit future damage.
And FairPlay calls on AMIE and all its members to help stop this unfair trade.
Statement by Francois Baird, founder of the FairPlay movement.