Dumping and predatory trade

More industries in SA suffer from dumped imports

Two more South African industries have fallen victim to unfair and possibly dumped imports – the dairy industry and the tyre industry.

The dairy industry has long complained about imports of long-life (UHT) milk from Poland. To that they have now added cheese from the Netherlands and Ireland which is imported into South Africa below the cost of the milk to produce it, let alone any other processing and transport costs.

In an article in the Financial Mail, Bertus van Heerden, chief economist at the Milk Producers Organisation and Johann Kirsten of the Bureau for Economic research, say an analysis of dairy import data for 2021 “provides sufficient evidence to suspect foul play in the market”.

They also detail the massive European Union subsidies which enable these low-priced EU exports.

The EU has five funds that support agricultural and rural development, on top of direct payments made to farmers under the EU’s common agricultural policy, which paid out €41 billion in subsidies in 2017. By 2020, that had risen to about €59 billion – that more than R1 trillion!

Meanwhile South African vehicle tyre manufacturers have applied for anti-dumping duties on imports of car, truck and bus tyres from China. They claim Chinese products are being imported at unfairly low prices, harming the local industry. Manufacturers want anti-dumping duties ranging from 8% to 69.9%.

Tyres worth R5.7 billion were imported into SA between August 2020 and July 2021, with 47% of that (R2.7 billion) coming from China. There has been a steady decline in tyre production in South Africa, and investment in the industry has slumped.

The country’s independent trade regulator, the International Trade Administration Commission, is investigating.