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South Africa Raises Duty on Chicken Imports

01 October 2013

SOUTH AFRICA - South Africa has raised import duties on chickens in a bid to boost the local industry and halt job cuts.

According to BusinessReport, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said that the country will raise tariffs on imports of whole birds to 82 per cent, the maximum allowed, from 27 per cent.

The duties apply to shipments except those from European Union nations and are effective today, he said.

The charge on chicken-carcass imports was raised to 31 per cent from 27 per cent, while that on boneless cuts increased to 12 per cent from five per cent, he said.

Companies including Astral Foods Ltd. and RCL Foods Ltd., the country’s biggest chicken producer, have asked for protection from imports amid a drop in profit.

The South African Poultry Association says imports of some cuts from Brazil and Europe are hurting the local industry and may lead to as many as 20,000 job losses.

The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, a local meat-trading lobby group, says increasing duties will drive up food costs for consumers.

"You will pay a little more for your roast chickens, that’s our decision," Mr Davies said.

"Tariffs are used as a tool for industrial development; we aren’t trying to make money out of it, it’s part of developing our industry."

Astral erased an earlier decline of as much as 0.8 per cent and traded 1.3 per cent higher at 96.25 rand after the announcement.

RCL climbed 1.3 per cent to 16.50 rand by 11 am in Johannesburg, having traded as much as 1.2 per cent lower before Mr Davies’ comments.

The tariffs will apply to chicken imports to all countries that are members of the Southern African Customs Union, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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