Trade representatives from the US and South Africa have reached an agreement that will see US poultry, beef and pork imports to South Africa resume.
The deal, which lifts what the US described as “long standing barriers” to US beef, poultry and pork imports, brings to an end a trade spat between the two countries. Agreement was reached after the Obama Administration notified US Congress and the South African authorities late last year that it plans to suspend benefits to South Africa under the African Growth and Opportunity Act if action is not taken to open the market to US meat exports.
Commenting on the development, US ambassador Michael Froman said: “This agreement is a positive outcome for both our countries, helping to deepen our trade and investment relationship and to lay the foundation on which we can build that relationship further.”
Froman continued: “While we celebrate the progress we have made in resolving the outstanding technical issues, the true test of our success will be based on the ability of South African consumers to buy American product in local stores. We will be working to ensure that this final benchmark of entry of poultry is achieved so that South Africa continues to have the advantage of full AGOA [African Growth and Opportunity Act] benefits, including by working with the US and South African industries to expedite the shipment of eligible product as soon as possible. Our goal is to complete this effort so that South Africa can maintain the full and continued enjoyment of AGOA’s benefits.”
The agreement will reserve “a portion” of new trade in poultry for “historically disadvantaged importers”, the ambassador revealed.
The deal was welcomed by the US poultry sector. “We’re pleased that this process has reached a successful conclusion and that US chicken can again be shipped to South Africa,” Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and National Chicken Council (NCC) President Mike Brown said in a joint statement.