South African poultry producers and chicken importers will be wondering what happens next, now that provisional anti-dumping duties against five countries have lapsed and not been replaced.
In March last year, the South African industry applied for anti-dumping duties on chicken imports from Brazil and four European Union countries – Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain. The process can take 18 months before a decision is announced.
However, last December the SA Revenue Service (SARS) took everyone by surprise by imposing provisional anti-dumping duties on the five countries, with an expiry date of 14 June 2022.
The assumption was that the investigation would have been completed by then, and final tariffs announced.
This has not happened, and from 15 June the temporary duties fell away, without any announcement from government about what will replace them.
In reality the situation affects chicken imports from only one country – Brazil – because all EU countries are prevented from exporting to South Africa at the moment due to bird flu outbreaks. And only one category of chicken imports is affected – frozen bone-in portions such as leg quarters, drumsticks and thighs, which have been the focus of all South African anti-dumping duty applications.
Nevertheless, the temporary duties to address the dumping margin – ranging from 6% to 265%, depending on the Brazilian producer – came on top of the 62% general duty applied to Brazilian bone-in imports so that it competes fairly with locally produced chicken.
The local poultry industry said those high levels of anti-dumping duties showed the extent of Brazilian dumping into South Africa. They will be feeling vulnerable now that the duties have lapsed.
Importers, however, will be rejoicing and are probably planning a new rush of dumped Brazilian imports before the imposition of permanent tariffs. Whenever that may be.