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“Soaring import duties on poultry must be cooled down”

The meat industry is urging the government to reconsider poultry import duties.

According to Money Web, the South African Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (Amie) is calling for a thorough review of poultry import tariffs, claiming that the duties are yet another form of tax that consumers cannot bear.

This follows the South African Reserve Bank’s (Sarb) Monetary Policy Review report for October, which revealed that customs duties on frozen whole chicken and bone-in pieces more than tripled between 2013 and 2022, rising from 27% to 82% and 18% to 62%, respectively.

Read more: The local poultry industry calls Patel’s tariff suspension a betrayal

According to the report, this contributed to rising frozen chicken meat prices and declining imports, which were exacerbated by anti-dumping duties and safeguards “imposed to limit substitution towards the European Union.”

It claims that the suspension will help lower-income South Africans’ purchasing power and real consumption.

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“Given the weak economy and high higher inflation environment, it is critical that the government do everything it can to keep this critical source of protein within reach of our society’s most vulnerable,” says Amie CEO Paul Matthew.

“The government must rethink its trade policy, which appears to favor large domestic manufacturers at the expense of consumers,” he adds.

According to Matthews, while demand for chicken has grown over the years, local production is still limited. He emphasizes the importance of imported chicken, which accounts for less than 10% of total consumption when mechanically deboned meat (MDM) is excluded, in the production of processed meat products.

“In South Africa, ever-increasing duties have confined and concentrated production, driving up prices.”

“A solution to this problem that will benefit customers will be found in liberalizing trade.”

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