The SA Poultry Association (Sapa) has begun legal action to halt the import of US chicken on the grounds that the imposition of US tariffs on SA steel and aluminium exports have removed the benefits SA enjoyed under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).
The association lodged papers in the Pretoria high court this week against trade & finance minister Rob Davies, finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, agriculture minister Senzeni Zokwana, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters and the International Trade Administration Commission.
Sapa acting GM Ziyanda Majokweni said in her founding affidavit that the suspension of Agoa benefits by the US had triggered the suspension of the rebate that US chicken exporters enjoyed in terms of a deal thrashed out with SA.
ANY ACTION AGAINST US IMPORTS COULD LEAD TO RETALIATION BY THE US ADMINISTRATION.
This allows them to export 65,000 tons of frozen bone in chicken portions free of anti-dumping duty to SA annually.
The rebate for this quota states that it will be suspended if any benefits that SA enjoyed under Agoa as at November 1 2015 are suspended.
However, for the rebate to be suspended Davies has to provide written confirmation to Nene that SA’s benefits have been suspended.
This has not happened and Sapa is asking the court to order Davies to provide Nene with this confirmation so the quota rebate can be suspended. The court action has been brought under the Promotion of Administration of Justice Act, alternatively the principle of legality.
Association of Meat Importers and Exporters CEO David Wolpert warned that any action against US imports could lead to retaliation by the administration of President Donald Trump. He also highlighted the negative effect the suspension would have on the historically disadvantaged, who benefit from the import of US chicken.
He said the association’s attorneys are still studying the Sapa application.