Chicken Industry

LETTER: Let’s judge chicken dumping on the evidence

First published in the Business Day on 15 February 2021.

If Paul Matthews wants to “debunk tariff and dumping myths” he should start with his categorical statement on chicken imports that “there has been no dumping since 2015” (“FairPlay’s focus on poultry imports oversimplifies the issues”, February 10).

Before taking this statement at face value, Business Day readers should expect the imminent publication of an application for new antidumping duties by the SA Poultry Association (Sapa). The association has said the application will cover Brazil and four EU countries — Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain.

Antidumping applications must be based on evidence, and we assume this evidence will be published when the application is announced in the Government Gazette on a Friday morning in the near future. We also assume the evidence the Poultry Association has gathered points to chicken dumping by these five countries far more recently than 2015.

In addition, in 2015 antidumping duties were imposed on chicken imports from Germany, the Netherlands and UK, and the Poultry Association has just applied to have them renewed for a further period. Why would they want them renewed unless dumping has continued? That makes eight countries against which there are serious allegations of current chicken dumping, presumably all of it backed by evidence.

Granted, allegations are not fact, and the applications have yet to be ruled on. Nevertheless, to state that there has been no dumping since 2015 strains credulity. Matthews seems to invite the obvious question; who should we believe, his word or our lying eyes?

Let’s judge on the evidence soon to be published. Hopefully Matthews, on behalf of Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, will be aghast at the dumping surprise about which they knew nought.

Francois Baird