Chicken Industry

New anti-dumping body fires first salvo at EU over poultry imports

A new local independent anti-dumping organisation, the FairPlay Movement, has taken on the dumping of poultry imports from the European Union (EU) as its first project, urging the head of the EU Delegation to South Africa, Marcus Cornaro, to “step into the corner of the anti-dumpers and help eradicate this scourge to trade”.


The FairPlay organisation, which was created by Francois Baird earlier this year, has addressed a letter to Cornaro, stating:  “The EU is all too aware of the threat that dumping creates and robustly defends its interest as in the recent case of the steel industry. You would expect us in South Africa to do no less, I’m sure.”


Baird said in the letter that up to 30 000 tonnes of chicken leg quarters from the EU had been dumped in South Africa per month last year. He added that 110 000 jobs were at stake in the local poultry industry, along with an estimated 20 000 in the soya and maize industries – which supply feed for poultry.


Cornaro said in response to the letter that a lack of competition, a severe drought pushing up feed prices, rising electricity costs and injecting of brine (salt water) were causing South African industry’s problems rather than EU imports.


He also dismissed suggestions that European exporters were dumping cheap, low-quality bone-in chicken onto the South African market, noting that the prices of frozen chicken pieces from Spain, Belgium and Ireland were not the cheapest on the market.


“In addition, imports from seven other EU poultry exporting countries – Germany, the Netherlands, France, the UK, Poland, Hungary and Denmark – are currently prohibited, owing to a blanket Avian flu ban imposed since late 2016,” Cornaro said, pointing out that the aggregate impact was that exports of chicken from the EU to South Africa were down by one-third.


According to EU figures, European exports account for less than 7% of total South African chicken consumption, and EU imports of “dark meat” account for only 14% of local market consumption.


But CEO of the South African Poultry Association (Sapa), Kevin Lovell, told FTW Online that 14% of chicken imports still amounted to over R7 billion between January and November last year, which was not “insubstantial”.


The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has established a national committee – which includes representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff) and the poultry industry – that will consider all the challenges experienced by the domestic poultry industry and develop a comprehensive strategy to address the challenges faced by the local poultry industry.


This article was first published on on 10 February 2017