Protection for potato farmers – but a year late

South Africa’s potato farmers have at last got some protection against dumped imports, but unfortunately it’s a year too late.

The issue is frozen potato chips, which the local potato industry says are dumped in large volumes by European producers when they have a surplus.

Anti-dumping duties that had been in place lapsed in July last year. They should have been renewed, but South Africa’s trade regulator, the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC), failed to complete its investigation in time.

ITAC then self-initiated a new investigation and at the end of last month said there was prima facie evidence that potato chips were being dumped in South Africa by Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The SA Revenue Service (SARS) announced provisional anti-dumping duties valid until next January, by which time ITAC should have made a final determination.

In a statement, FairPlay founder Francois Baird welcomed the provisional tariffs but regretted that the local potato industry had unnecessarily lost a year’s protection against dumped imports.