David Wolpert, a retired chicken importer, errs in thinking that there is no current or future threat to the local poultry industry from dumped chicken imports (“Dumping not core issue bedevilling local poultry industry”, 12 April).

Dumping is not in the past. Certainly, rising feed costs concern poultry farmers, as feed comprises up to 70% of their input costs. Dumping is worse, because it breaks the rules as evidenced by the lengthy application for anti-dumping duties against Brazil and four EU countries.

The threat looms large. The application identifies dumped imports as comprising more than half all bone-in chicken imports in the year to June 2020. Bone-in portions do most damage to the local industry and are the focus of the anti-dumping application.

Dumping is a clear and present danger. The application notes what FairPlay has warned about before: Brazil, the EU and other major poultry producers have built up huge surpluses and will be looking to dump them as international trade normalises.

Now there’s a new threat, not mentioned in the application. Having left the EU, the UK now finds a multitude of barriers blocking UK poultry exports to EU countries, which formerly took three-quarters of their trade.

UK producers will be looking for alternative markets, including SA. So might EU producers — one report estimates that more than a million tonnes of EU poultry may be looking for different markets once the UK implements border checks on EU meat products this October.

That is, of course, subject to bird flu bans, but EU countries have recovered from previous outbreaks. Brazil and the US are not yet affected. So the dumping threat is real, immediate and looming in the near future.

We ignore it at our peril.

Francois Baird
Founder, FairPlay

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