Amie Disputes Poultry Groups Tariff Sums

20 Nov 2014
The Poultry Site

SOUTH AFRICA - The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (Amie) has made two separate supplementary submissions to the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) to counter an application by the South African Poultry Association for a significant tariff increase on the import of frozen poultry meat.

BusinessDay reports that the industry is asking for tariff increases of up to 82 per cent on five categories of frozen chicken meat imports, the maximum bound rate negotiated at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The industry claims South Africa has the most unprotected market in the world but its opposers claim that it already enjoys a 27 per cent import duty on most of the categories for which it is seeking higher tariffs.

Itac has already said the investigation is being conducted within the domestic policy framework, and that it "is consistent with the negotiated WTO-bound most favourite nation ceiling rates".

Amie said it had found mathematical errors in revised documentation it received from the poultry association, which would have a substantial effect on the final proposed duty calculations.

Amie received additional figures when it sought information about the calculations done by the poultry association, and the North Gauteng High Court gave it an opportunity to make supplementary submissions to the one submitted at the start of this month.

Amie CEO David Wolpert said on Thursday that the association had asked Itac to "double-check all calculations and assumptions (made by the poultry association) carefully".

Itac had asked the poultry association to present its information on cost allocations in a different format and a new report with the changes has been filed with Itac. The information includes actual cost data over a longer period and the method of cost allocation was addressed, as requested by Itac, specifically regarding the flat-rate allocation of "live meat" and the calculation of costs of offal and carcasses.

In the second submission Amie had provided figures showing chicken imports from non-European Union countries had fallen 35 per cent from 2006 to 2013, and falling imports clearly indicated there was no need for protection, Mr Wolpert told Business Day.

"The industry is, in effect, asking for a duty increase because import volumes have dropped, which clearly makes no sense at all," Mr Wolpert said.

Amie also reiterated its view that without a viable export programme, local poultry is unable to match supply and demand — and more importantly, is unable to obtain the best yield for its products, expecting the consumer to finance this shortcoming in the business model.

The poultry association will have until 4 July to respond to Amie’s submissions. Itac has undertaken not to make a recommendation to the minister of trade and industry until the commission meets again on 9 July.