Dumping and predatory trade

Preparing for a surge of chicken imports

It’s still too early to tell when foreign poultry producers – and particularly Brazil – will start to take advantage of the suspension of South African anti-dumping duties.

The new duties were recommended by South Africa’s trade regulator, the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC). It found that Brazil and four European Union countries had dumped chicken portions in South Africa and harmed local poultry producers.

The findings and recommended duties were approved by Trade, Industry and Competition minister Ebrahim Patel, but he suspended implementation for 12 months because of a feared impact on food prices. The suspension is in effect from 1 August 2022.

FairPlay has warned that the suspension is an invitation to Brazil and others to dump as much chicken as they like for the next year.

However it takes many weeks for shipments to arrive in South Africa, so even a Brazilian producer with lightning-fast reflexes is unlikely to land chicken products in South Africa until mid or late September. The bulk of any import surge is likely to be months after that, stretching into next year.

The latest official import statistics are for July 2022. They show that after a rise early in the year, poultry imports dropped in May, June and July. This includes bone-in portions such as leg quarters that are the subject of the anti-dumping duties.

We will be keeping an eagle eye on those import numbers, but the warning bells may not ring until the final quarter of the year.