SOUTH AFRICA - A trade protocol for poultry meat and day-old-chicks has been signed by South African and US Veterinarians, the South African trade authorities have announced.
Earlier this month, the US announced that South Africa's benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) would be suspended in the new year unless issues related to agricultural imports were sorted.
An import quota for US chicken into South African was agreed in Paris in June, but implementation of the agreement has been held up by conflict over the sanitary regulation of beef, pork and poultry meat.
In particular, the US wanted South Africa to regionalise its ban on poultry from the US following this year's highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks.
Now, South Africa has agreed to that, saying in a statement that the newly signed trade protocol grants continued exports of poultry from those areas in the US that are not affected by avian influenza, in the event of a future outbreak.
South Africa's statement said that negotiating a protocol that secured market access and protected health had been a difficult process, but that the agreement was a significant milestone in helping the country to keep its AGOA eligibility.
The statement added that the 65,000 ton quota for US poultry imports will be implemented by 31 December.
Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council and Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said: “We applaud the progress that has been made and support the regionalised approach to avian influenza as outlined in the Poultry Veterinary Trade Protocol.
"Two obstacles still remain, though, one pertaining to food safety and the other is an acceptable quota allocation procedure by the South African government.
"While this development is certainly positive, there is still work to be done and it is our opinion that this issue becomes resolved when US chicken products are being enjoyed by South African consumers.”
Read our previous articles on this story:
- South Africa's Benefits Suspended After Failure to Import US Chicken
- US Poultry Meat Import Dispute: South Africa's Story