Chicken Industry

What chicken importers don’t tell the public

In a response in Business Report to importer articles in that publication by Paul Matthew and Fred Hume, FairPlay founder Francois Baird said chicken importers did not want duties to affect the profits they were making from a very lucrative business.

“Unfortunately, in the process they obfuscate, distort the facts and withhold important information.”

Baird listed a number of facts that the importers had not shared.

  • Anti-dumping duties are not an “import tax”, nor are they “punitive tariffs” as Matthew and Hume like to pretend. They are also not general tariffs, which would apply to countries or a group of countries.
  • Anti-dumping duties are an important remedy in the defence of fair trade and fair competition. Dumping – importing goods at unfairly low prices to grab market share – is predatory trade. It harms local industries and costs local jobs. It contravenes world trade rules, and the World Trade Organisation prescribes anti-dumping duties to counter this harmful and pernicious trade practice.
  • Anti-dumping duties are very specific penalties imposed on imports from specified producers in specified countries in order to counter the unfair advantage they would gain from their dumped imports because they are breaking the rules.
  • The investigation into dumping by Brazil and the four EU countries was conducted by South Africa’s trade regulator, the International Trade Administration Commission, or Itac. The investigation found that dumping was taking place, and harming South African chicken farmers.
  • Itac recommended anti-dumping duties, producer by producer and country by country, depending on the level of dumping, to prevent further harm being done to South African producers and South African jobs.
  • Lower duties will apply to the big producers who have put their case to Itac. Duties on Brazilian products could be as low as 3.31%. Irish duties start at 2.49%, with a maximum of 37.52%, not the 158% that Hume claims.

Baird also advised Business Report readers that there would be more exaggerated claims from chicken importers if the new anti-dumping duties came into effect, including forecasts of massive price hikes and international retaliation.

“If duties are imposed, expect shock and horror from chicken importers, and predictions of local and international disaster. Just don’t believe them. 

“Most chicken in South African shops is free of import tax and anti-dumping duties. It is called South African chicken,” Baird said.