South African Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies announced last month that he would not impose anti-dumping duties on chicken from Brazil, as requested by the South African Poultry Association, because he believed that the difficulties faced by local poultry producers were caused by imports in general, rather than specifically Brazilian imports.
Indicating an unwillingness to get into a trade war with Brazil, which lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the provisional anti-dumping duties introduced by South Africa’s International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) in February 2012, Davies said that he would instead look at raising the general tariff on all imported chicken, which is currently much lower than the allowed maximum tariff.
Davies’ decision has been welcomed by the Brazilian poultry industry. The director of the Commercial Affairs Department of Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA), Benedito Rosa, said the duties – 62.93% and 46.59% on whole chickens and boneless cuts respectively, in addition to normal import tariffs – could have caused significant damage to the Brazilian poultry industry if they were maintained.
"No other country has made such a challenge [to] Brazilian exports of poultry meat. The action taken by the South Africans was hasty and did not fulfill the procedures provided by the agreements of the World Trade Organization [WTO]," he said.
The chief executive of the Brazilian Poultry Union (UBABEF), Francisco Turra, said Brazilian exports were not harming local poultry producers and had instead boosted poultry production in South Africa. "Minister Davies’ decision will be beneficial, especially to South African consumers, who will continue to count on high-quality Brazilian products without unfair price increases," he said.
However, the South Africa Poultry Association said it was "very disappointed" with Davies’ decision, insisting that the import of cheap Brazilian chicken was causing "massive harm" to local poultry producers.