Chicken Industry

LETTER: Act over chicken dumping

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and the government should learn from the way other countries deal with Brazil’s chicken dumping (Brazil gets short end of stick in superpowers’ poultry wrangle, June 11). SA is a small country compared to Brazil, the EU, US and other major chicken producers. It is of great concern that these countries use their economic might to damage our chicken industry and destroy South African jobs.

The unemployed have no leverage or bargaining power. They rely on the government to protect their livelihoods and step in when global trade predators threaten their jobs. That’s what China’s government has just done, by imposing temporary antidumping measures on imports of Brazilian chicken.

China’s commerce ministry found that Chinese producers had been substantially damaged by shipments of chicken from Brazil between 2013 and 2016, and moved to repair the damage by imposing deposits on importers of up to 38.4% of the value of shipments. The fact that both countries are Brics members didn’t stop China from acting against Brazil.

In SA, imports have doubled from 20% of the local market to 44% in the first quarter of 2018. SA never rocks the boat and ends up being bullied by the big boys. The EU, Brazil and others are targeting our chicken industry practices. They act quickly to exploit loopholes or regulatory delays, and they meet little resistance. South African meat importers are allowed to profit without consideration of the long-term devastating impact this has on the local industry and on the poor.

Davies should take a leaf out of China’s book and step in. SA’s efficient poultry industry deserves the same consideration, and protection, to allow it sustainability and growth.

Francois Baird
Founder, FairPlay