AMIE welcomes Minister Patel, ITAC’s decision on rebate for chicken imports to help poor households

26 January 2023, Johannesburg

The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters of Southern Africa (AMIE) has welcomed the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition rebate decision on boneless and bone-in chicken cuts, saying that the move will keep the price of chicken in check for consumers, especially for poor households, who are struggling to afford this vital source of protein.

The decision was published today, 26 January 2024.  It provides a 30% rebate on boneless and 25% on bone-in cuts of imported chicken.

The decision follows AMIE’s submission to ITAC in November 2023, calling for rebates to be applied on imported chicken.  Imported chicken currently carries a duty of 62% for frozen bone-in and 42% for boneless chicken pieces.  According to AMIE, import duties are an extremely regressive form of tax, meaning that it impacts consumers most directly.

Chicken remains the most affordable and essential source of protein for consumers, especially the poor, who are struggling to meet their families’ basic food security needs. AMIE believes this decision shows that Government is alive to the plight of poor South Africans.

“As AMIE, we congratulate the Minister and the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) on this decision, and look forward to the guidelines, which will be published in due course.  We also hope that the Department recognises the importance of this move for consumers, and that they streamline the process to eliminate any red tape in rebate applications for importers.

“Government’s mandate is to act on behalf of its citizens, and this requires it to do all it can to ensure that the country is food secure, and that the poor are able to afford poultry. This decision demonstrates that the Minister is acutely aware of this,” says Matthew.

The need for the rebate has been publicly supported by Professor Lawrence Edwards, from the Policy Research in International Services and Manufacturing Unit at UCT’s School of Economics, who argues that it is pro-poor. In his article, Edwards wrote that “even with the rebate, demand for domestic chicken will exceed domestic supply, and will therefore have no impact on the sales of domestic products. The rebate, however, will provide some relief to consumers who have faced very high food inflation.” Edwards estimates that for every 10% increase in the aggregate import price from duties, there is a 4.8% increase in the consumer price of frozen chicken.

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