The United States is pressuring SA to open its poultry market to US imports, threatening to abolish the trade benefits that SA’s agricultural products enjoy under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). This will have a wide impact on the agricultural sector as a whole by placing export revenue and many jobs at risk.
President Barack Obama threatened SA last week with plans to halt certain agricultural products from the Agoa trade deal within 60 days, unless the dispute regarding US meat imports is resolved in the US’ favour. The dispute revolves around South Africa removing trade restrictions on US meat produce, imposed to protect the local industry from cheaper imports.
Peter Draper, managing director at Tutwa Consulting, argues that resolving this dispute in the US’ favour could lead to the United States dumping poultry in South Africa. Together with US farm subsidies, this constitutes unfair competition. “If you allow it, it could be catastrophic to the marketplace,” said Draper.