LETTER: Imports no solution to chicken crisis

LETTER: Imports no solution to chicken crisis

19.2.2020

LETTER: Imports no solution to chicken crisis

Paul Matthew claims wrongly that imports are essential as SA chicken producers cannot meet local demand

18 February 2020 - 17:18 Picture: 123RF / ANDOR BUJDOSO Chicken importers trot out many false arguments in their opposition to higher tariffs on chicken imports. Paul Matthew stands the truth on its head (“ Higher chicken prices and jobs bloodbath will follow trade protection ”, February 13). On behalf of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE), he dishes up the falsity that imports are necessary because SA chicken producers cannot meet local demand. The truth is that the local industry has been crippled by ever-increasing volumes of dumped and predatory imports, which have grabbed 20%-30% of the local market, killed jobs and stopped investment, expansion and job creation. His solution for this crisis is more imports. On the other hand, in their tariff application in December 2018, producers said they had idle plant and excess capacity because of the imports surge and could meet local demand given tariff protection against unfair imports. Then there’s the false implication that all chicken prices would go up if tariffs were increased. Only some imported chicken (mainly from Brazil) would be affected, and there’s no proof that any prices will go up — importers and retailers may trim their margins. Matthew’s idea of a “jobs bloodbath” because of import tariffs is pure nonsense. Not only are his arguments against tariffs a self-serving defence of import profits, they are also hypocritical. AMIE is a signatory to the poultry sector master plan, and as such it supported a review of the tariff framework to assess tariffs, antidumping measures, countervailing measures and preferential trade agreements that would defend the industry and allow it to grow. The current tariff application is part of the matters taken into consideration in the master plan, and by implication is supported by AMIE. Francois Baird Read more: Business Day

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