Update: Creation of a temporary rebate provision on meat and edible offal, fresh, chilled or frozen chicken

24 Oct 2023

Following the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition’s directive to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC), in Notice 2057 of 2023 in the Government Gazette, issued in terms of section 16(1)(d)(ii) of the International Trade Administration Act, Act 71 of 2002 (ITA Act), to consider the creation of a temporary rebate provision on meat and edible offal, fresh, chilled or frozen of fowls of the species Gallus Domesticus classifiable under HS0207.1, the following serves as an update on the consultation process that subsequently followed the publication of the Notice on 2 October 2023.

Subsequent to receiving a Ministerial directive ITAC also circulated the Publication Notice to all parties who participated in an earlier process to review of the entire tariff structure of poultry on the same day. ITAC also circulated a shortened questionnaire on 04 October 2023 in an effort to guide stakeholders on how they ought to structure their inputs, which would allow the Commission to make an informed recommendation. ITAC also approached, amongst others, the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development (DALRRD), the South Africa Franchisee Association as well as the National Consumer Commission.

To date, ITAC has received 18 comments from, inter alia, different stakeholders across the value chain, including Government departments/entities, stakeholders from business, including importers. Extensions were provided to specific stakeholders who requested such, in line with Section 20.4 and 20.5 of the Amended Tariff Investigations Regulations (Regulations), until 25 October 2023 in order to make provision for counter comments until 30 October 2023.

What is the next step once the submissions from interested parties are considered?

Once the Commission has received all comments, it is envisaged that a Special Commission meeting may be convened, where oral representations may be received from value chain participants in line with the requirements as set out in Section 20 of the Regulations, which is attached for ease of reference.

What is the timeline for a final decision and what must happen before that decision is put into effect?

The Commission shall evaluate the information obtained from these representations and any insights arising from an investigation and shall forward a final finding in the form of a recommendation to approve or reject an amendment to the Customs & Excise Act, together with a ministerial minute or a report setting forth the results of its evaluation, to the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (the “Minister”). The Minister will decide whether to accept, reject or refer back ITAC’s recommendation. If the Minister accepts ITAC’s recommendation and it involves an amendment of the Customs & Excise Act, he will request the Minister of Finance to implement the proposed amendment though a publication notice by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in the Government Gazette. In terms of Section 22.3 of the attached Regulations, the Commission will also publish the outcome of its investigation on its official website after the relevant action by the Minister and/or SARS has been taken.

Where are the submissions published?

In terms of Section 8 of the Regulations, a public file will be kept in all investigations and all non-confidential documents will be kept in this file. The public file in an investigation may be accessed by making an appointment with the investigating official identified in the Publication Notice of an investigation or any investigating official subsequently appointed to lead the investigation.

If parties are not happy with the final decision, what are the remedies available to them?

In terms of Section 35 of the International Trade Administration Act 71 of 2002, a claimant affected by a determination of the Commission in terms of section 34(3) of the said Act may appeal against that determination to a High Court, subject to its rules, in the prescribed manner and form. The ITA Act is attached for ease of reference.

Below are links to some important documents for reference purposes:

Notice 2057 of 2023

International Trade Administration Act

Amended Tariff Investigations Regulations