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Call for WTO Action over South Africa Anti-dumping Duties

10 July 2012, at 8:34am

GLOBAL - US poultry groups have called on the trade representative to take South Africa to the World Trade Organisation over the anti-dumping duties imposed on US poultry products.

In a letter sent to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk last week, the National Chicken Council and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USPEEC) said that they “strongly urge you to match Brazil’s commitment to its industry by filing a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge on behalf of U.S. chicken exporters” against the anti-dumping duties South Africa imposed on US chicken nearly 12 years ago.

“We urge the US government to support Brazil as a third-party in its case if Brazil will agree to reciprocate and support the United States in its case,” the letter added.

On 21 June, Brazil filed a challenge with the WTO against the anti-dumping duties South Africa imposed on Brazilian chicken. South Africa imposed anti-dumping duties on US poultry imports over two decades ago using the “same flawed theory” that it recently used against Brazilian imports, the letter explained.

Using a weighted average export price for US bone-in chicken cuts from 2000 through the first quarter of 2012, the effective average duty levied by South Africa on these products is 258.8 percent, the letter said.

If South Africa opens its market to US bone-in chicken parts, exports would increase to 127,000 metric tons annually according to an analysis by USAPEEC and U.S. bone-in chicken parts price would increase 4 percent at the wholesale level.

“At every step, the South African government acted on the assumption that it would violate WTO rules with impunity, and US inaction has confirmed and rewarded that approach. Worse yet, US tolerance of South Africa’s illegal actions has emboldened other countries, including China, Ukraine, and Mexico to bring almost identical anti-dumping cases against US poultry. Countries like South Africa are illegally blocking US exports at a time when the President’s policy is to double US exports over a five-year period. And, US poultry is perhaps the most competitive and potentially successful export sector in US agriculture,” the letter said.

“It is time for our government to tell South Africa we will no longer accept that exclusion. It is time for the US government to show the same commitment to its poultry export industry that Brazil is showing to its” [own industry], the letter concluded.