US Still Waiting for Progress on South Africa Market Access

US - A recent report by the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS) said that there has been little progress on exports of bone-in chicken to South Africa.
calendar icon 15 July 2015
clock icon 4 minute read

The two countries made an agreement in Paris at the beginning of June that South Africa would resume imports of bone-in chicken, ending anti-dumping duties that had been in place since 2000.

South Africa's incentive for the agreement was access to the US' African Growth and Opportunity Act, which could support many jobs in South Africa through better access to US markets.

However, the FAS report said that the South African market for US poultry, pork and beef remains closed, although there remains substantial testimony of good will from South Africa’s government and industry officials.

The reason for the delay relates to negotiations between the USDA and the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) over sanitary and food safety issues related to avian influenza and US poultry.

The FAS report said that South Africa has not regionalised the US poultry ban related to avian influenza as requested, and that South Africa should begin to regionalise and continue to regionalise during future outbreaks, consistent with international standard practice. This would allow an import ban due to avian influenza to only apply to the region where infection occurred.

Global trends on HPAI indicate 138 markets open for US poultry, some regionalised, with 18 nations including South Africa maintaining a ban.

DAFF and USDA must also agree on a draft poultry health certificate, which has been discussed several times over recent years, but has not resulted in a finalised, agreeable conclusion.

US Beef Imports Still Not Resumed Despite Negligible BSE Risk

South Africa had committed in Paris to accommodate USDA’s request for recognition of its current negligible risk status under bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and resume its imports of US beef. The FAS report said that this issue also has not been concluded.

The US has been unable to export US beef to South Africa under terms consistent with its OIE risk status since 2005, when the United States resumed exports of beef to many nations, the report said.

The US began exporting a limited scope of products to many nations in 2005 following the implementation of the ruminant feed ban. As the OIE’s determination of the US BSE status changed to controlled risk in 2008 and then to negligible risk in 2013, the scope of the United States’ exports to most countries expanded to reflect the improved BSE status.

Pork Market Access Showing Signs of Progress

On US pork, the gap has narrowed, with the potential for some market access, with limited conditions on what types of pork may be exported. However, the FAS report said there is no agreed pork certificate.

The United States has been out of the market for pork since 2013. Technical officials have met and conferenced many times without finalising their negotiations regarding the sanitary and food safety issues.

Negotiations Still Ongoing

The arrangements and agreements related to a settlement between the South African and US poultry industries regarding a quantitative restriction are not finished. Trade reports indicate that the South African government has not yet approved the terms of a draft deal.

FAS Pretoria cannot report a defined timeline to expect the return of US meat to the market. The United States and South Africa have much to gain by aligning their approach to agricultural trade.

South Africa has the opportunity to increase its exports to the US, including up to $175 million worth of citrus, avocados, other horticultural crops, and high quality meats, over time.

Further Reading

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