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SA wants imports to meet global health safety, not to restrict US imports

SA wants imports to meet global health safety, not to restrict US imports

NEW YORK: South Africa was not restricting poultry imports from the US, but wanted imports to meet global health safety standards and not put consumers at risk, deputy director-general of international trade at the Department of Trade and Industry Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter said.
SA and US veterinarian experts meet amid threats by US politicians to reimpose tariffs on a range of SA goods unless Pretoria lifts restrictions on US chicken, beef and pork imports.
SA had already addressed concerns on beef and pork, with the only outstanding agreements to be made on poultry imports from the US, Ms Mlumbi-Peter said.
The Cabinet had approved the lifting of a ban on beef that had Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy from several countries including the US, she said.
An agreement had been reached on pork cuts to be exported to SA. An avian influenza outbreak in the US raised concern over the safety of these products.
“Both the US and SA … will follow the guidelines set by the World Organisation for Animal Health in terms of how SA can facilitate trade of bone-in chicken cuts in view of the avian influenza,” Ms Mlumbi-Peter said.
SA in June undertook to lift 15-year-old antidumping duties on an agreed quantum of US bone-in chicken portions. There had been talks between SA and the US to find “an amicable solution”, she said.
Some in the US Congress felt that SA was using food safety and animal health regulations to keep American farm products out of its market. Deputy assistant US trade representative Trevor Kincaid last week said that a resolution on unfair barriers to US exports was urgently needed. SA benefited under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) and was expected to make “continual progress towards opening its markets to American goods”.
SA was not unfairly gaining from Agoa, Ms Mlumbi-Peter said, adding that the agreement had ensured mutually beneficial trade between the two countries.
A Brookings Institute study showed that Agoa had created 100,000 jobs in the US and 62,000 jobs in SA. “It is our view that SA meets the eligibility criteria and where there have been trade concerns raised by the US, SA has shown commitment to resolving these,” she said.