SOUTH AFRICA - South Africa's Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana recently met with the Ambassador for the EU Marcus Cornaro to discuss bilateral trade relations, amid increasing concern about the state of the poultry industry in South Africa.
The meeting took place in the context of the entry into force of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA group in October 2016. A news release from the South African government said both parties acknowledged that 2016 marked a very good year with bilateral volumes of exports increasing on both sides, which are expected to increase further with the Agreement.
However, with regard to poultry, the meeting took place in the context of important job losses in the industry, public protests and massive media coverage.
The Ministers emphasised the importance of the poultry sector to rural development and the revitalisation of agriculture and the agri-food processing value-chain, and said they had already taken steps to address industry challenges.
The meeting recognised the crisis in the poultry industry as being complex and thus offered a platform to exchange views on the challenges faced by the industry which includes structural and competitiveness issues as well as increased imports.
The EU Ambassador underlined that the EU is of the view that the crisis is caused more by the structural challenges affecting the poultry sector rather than by EU imports.
The Ambassador also expressed the EU's support for the restructuring of the industry and recalled that exports of South African poultry to the EU are an opportunity which should be pursued. Both parties expressed good will to help facilitate market access and to enhance their cooperation on sanitary and phytosanitary issues (SPS).
The EU and South Africa said they are committed to engage in outreach activities, sectors analyses, the tackling trade barriers and the smoothening of trade flows to help business take full advantage of the Economic Partnership Agreement.ThePoultrySite News Desk