LETTER: Chicken importers require better arguments
Importer supporters concede that dumping should stop but argue, incorrectly, that import volumes are not high and do no huge harm
If chicken importers are going to oppose the application for anti-dumping duties on chicken portions from Brazil and four EU countries, they will have to marshal better arguments.
The application sets out, in detail, the damage done to the local poultry industry by dumped imports from July 2017 to June 2020. It identifies a continuing threat in the oversupply in Brazil and the EU, with SA a probable target for this unwanted surplus.
The reaction from importer supporters such as David Wolpert and Anthony Peerie boil down to “what’s the fuss?”. Both concede that dumping should stop but argue, incorrectly, that import volumes are not high and do no huge harm.
Peerie says “there’s no peril” (“Shouting fire in the chicken coop”, April 21). Wolpert says warnings of import growth are “scaremongering” (Idea that EU has ‘huge surplus’ of chicken ready for dumping is incorrect”, April 19).
What’s holding back EU exports at the moment is not intent, but temporary bird flu bans. Producers complained last year that their fridges were full of unsold poultry; this year the EU has embarked on a “more assertive” trade policy designed to increase EU agricultural exports to Africa and the Caribbean while strictly managing imports.
SA poultry’s anti-dumping application provides facts; unfairly priced dumped imports have cost sales, profits and market share, and limited domestic expansion opportunities, including job creation. How Wolpert and Peerie concede that this has happened, but deny it will continue if dumping is not stopped, is a mystery.
In the past three years dumped chicken imports with generous profit margins totalled R6.4bn. No wonder importers campaign to protect their fat profits. Local producers and the government are duty bound to defend a vulnerable and distressed industry — and the thousands of jobs that are at stake — against such predatory trade.
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