SOUTH AFRICA – The Trade, Industry, and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, in collaboration International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac), has implemented rebates on imported chicken cuts, drawing mixed reactions from key stakeholders in the industry.

The decision, published on January 26, offers a 30% rebate on boneless and a 25% rebate on bone-in cuts of imported chicken.

The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters of Southern Africa (AMIE) lauded the decision, stating that it will play a crucial role in keeping chicken prices affordable for consumers, particularly for struggling households that heavily depend on this protein source.

AMIE had submitted a request to Itac in November 2023, advocating for rebates on imported chicken.

Currently, imported chicken faces high duties, with a 62% duty on frozen bone-in cuts and 42% on boneless chicken pieces.

The AMIE argued that these duties disproportionately impact consumers, especially those in lower-income brackets.

Chicken remains a vital and affordable protein source, especially for poor South Africans grappling with basic food security needs.”

The AMIE viewed the decision as a positive step, demonstrating the government’s responsiveness to the challenges faced by economically disadvantaged citizens.

Paul Matthew, CEO of AMIE, congratulated the Minister and Itac on the decision, expressing optimism about the forthcoming guidelines.

He also urged the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition to simplify the rebate application process for importers, eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy.

However, not everyone in the poultry industry is pleased with the decision. The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) contended that there is no rational basis for rebates on tariffs.

SAPA argued that the poultry industry is already well-stocked, with no shortages noted during the festive season.

SAPA vehemently opposes the implementation of rebates, warning that it could severely damage an industry already facing challenges.

They argue that South Africa’s poultry market is globally competitive and does not require additional imports to address potential shortages, even in the event of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

“We will be dismayed if the government even considers applications, never mind approves permits, for poultry imports under the rebates,” SAPA warned, emphasizing that the local industry has demonstrated its ability to supply chicken to the market without shortages.

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