Higher Tariffs Will Lead To Unaffordable Chicken.

Last year, Minister Patel suspended anti-dumping tariffs on imported bone-in chicken, in the interest of keeping chicken affordable for local consumers.  However, that suspension is due to be revised in August, and lobbyists for the poultry industry are once again using skewed statistics to try to convince Minister Patel to re-instate the punitive tariffs.

Imported poultry already carries an exceptionally high MFN duty rate of 62% on bone-in portions. Lobbyists want the anti-dumping duties to be added onto those, which will potentially double or even triple the price of the imports, and allow local producers to substantially raise the price of their domestically-produced chicken as they will be cushioned from competition.

We all use the same statistics, and according to those statistics (tables below), it is easy to see there is in fact in excess of a 30% drop in imports since the additional punitive tariffs were suspended.

According to the latest trade statistics released by SARS (May 2023) it’s clear that chicken bone-in imports have decreased from the previous year:

  • Month on Month (May 23 vs May 22): Total chicken bone-in imports have decreased by -55%.
  • For the period (Jan-May22 vs Jan-May23): Total Chicken bone-in imports have decreased by -30%.



We have to ask ourselves, in light of the substantial decrease in imports, what a re-instatement of additional tariffs will achieve, apart from providing even more protection for the local chicken producers’ profits and driving up the price of poultry, which will add to the strain of the already-overburdened consumer.

Looking at the chicken bone-in imports from Brazil: During May 22 provisional anti-dumping duties were in place on Bone-in chicken imported from Brazil and South Africa imported 6 537mt, in May 23 when no anti-dumping duties were imposed Brazil exported 1 720mt of chicken bone-in cuts to South Africa. That’s a decrease of -74% with no anti-dumping duty imposed.




Looking over the period when the provisional anti-dumping duties were in place (Dec21-May22) and comparing that to the same period after the anti-dumping duties were suspended (Dec22-May23), bone-in imports from Brazil decreased by -32% as seen in the graph.



Lobbyists also love to include MDM (Mechanically Deboned Meat, the main ingredient of processed meats such as polony and vienna sausages) in their import statistics in order to make them look higher than they are.  This is disingenuous because MDM is not sufficiently produced locally.  Without these imports, South Africans would have no access to affordable processed meat.

It is really regrettable that the local poultry is seeking more protection when they already are one of the most protected agricultural sectors in the country.

– By AMIE CEO, Paul Matthew

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