The verbal war over whether or not the dumping of cheap imported chicken portions is to blame for the woes of the poultry industry, has feathers flying between two lobby groups.
The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (Amie) has accused lobby group FairPlay of being “none other than participants in the local chicken industry”, and says its views “in no way constitute a balanced view, which seeks to achieve ‘fair play’ in the local chicken industry. FairPlay is nothing other than the alter ego for the South African Poultry Association,” Amie states in a lawyers letter to FairPlay and the MD of RCL Foods consumer division, Scott Pitman.
FairPlay has sought government support to combat what it says is the dumping of chicken bone-in portions by the EU, which has put the local industry at risk. Amie says these claims are unsubstantiated and false. Its letter warns that if FairPlay and Pitman did not stop making false statements about the dumping of chicken within seven days, it would seek an interdict against them “from making such unwarranted and gratuitous statements without any proper foundation”.
FairPlay founder Francois Baird hit back saying the organisation would not be intimidated and would continue “to give a voice to those who are affected by dumping, with courage and conviction. We are not afraid of the bullying tactics of the dumpers or the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, which want us to stop referring to “dumping” in relation to chicken imports.
“We have a constitutional right to freedom of expression, which FairPlay has been exercising lawfully and for the benefit of the country. We will continue to do so. The rule of law applies to all and dumping is an illegal trade practice, which FairPlay intends to bring to an end, eventually.”
Baird said there was a dispute between FairPlay and Amie over whether or not dumping was hurting the economy. This was hardly the grounds for an interdict, he said.
by Linda Ensor
First published on Business Day on 08 May 2017