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South Africa agrees to US meat import demands

South Africa agrees to US meat import demands

SOUTH AFRICA: Negotiations between South Africa and the US on key areas related to the importation of poultry, beef and pork from the US to South Africa were concluded at a meeting on 6 January 2016.

Only a limited number of US poultry and meat products have been exported to South Africa in recent years, due to sanitary requirements by the South African authorities, with most poultry exports blocked for the last 15 years. The US argued that these health requirements were not backed up by science.

After missing a deadline for import agreement on 31 December, South Africa was running the risk of losing its benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which allows it to export to the US with reduced tariffs. However, South Africa has now avoided this, and US officials were positive about the conclusion of negotiations.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said: “This is good news for American farmers, ranchers and poultry, pork and beef companies. We welcome this move by South Africa and will continue our efforts to break down barriers and expand access for high-quality, safe and wholesome US food and agricultural products around the world.

“With this agreement, South Africa reaffirms the scientific soundness and integrity of the US system for ensuring animal health and food safety, and this will result in high-quality US meat and poultry being available for South African consumers.”

US Trade Representative Michael Froman said: “We are pleased that South Africa and the United States reached agreement to resolve barriers to US poultry, pork and beef. “This success was made possible because of South Africa’s constructive efforts over the last several months. “This agreement is a positive outcome for both our countries, helping to deepen our trade and investment relationship and to lay the foundation on which we can build that relationship further.

“For South Africa, our agreement will reserve a portion of the new trade in poultry for historically disadvantaged importers, thus providing new business opportunities that could contribute to their economic advancement.” On a more cautionary note, Mr Froman added: “The true test of our success will be based on the ability of South African consumers to buy American product in local stores.”