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SA’s citrus exports to the EU are huge. The EU region is considering the imposition of new regulations to counter a “codling moth problem” related to SA oranges.
These regulations would be for SA oranges to undergo “mandatory cold treatment” for at least 16 days. This would obviously be a serious problem, and entail a big cost to our citrus export industry.
For the record, the EU and SA jointly signed a duty free trading agreement called the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) years ago. Despite this agreement, SA, in its bid to limit poultry imports from the EU, has imposed various dumping and safeguard duties on EU chicken, commencing shortly after the EPA was signed, and we are relentless in this localisation pursuit.
It is important to state that SA has not imposed any of these types of punitive duties on the US though US poultry is similarly priced to the European product. The reason for this is that such action would endanger the benefits we receive from the US African Growth and Opportunity Act. A quota system exists where duties are rebated.
At present the annual quota is about 72,000 tonnes. That’s a lot of chicken to be treated favourably.
I am aware that the EU countries were furious about the duties imposed on them, and EU traders spoke of possible retaliatory trade action. I have no idea whether citrus action has anything to do with poultry duties but I do know that it could never be advisable for the frail and impoverished SA mouse to continuously attack the European elephant.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.