SOUTH AFRICA - SA will retain preferential access for its farming goods to the world’s biggest market after meeting benchmarks set by President Barack Obama to allow the import and sales of US meat products.
"I have determined that suspending the application of duty-free treatment to certain goods is no longer necessary to promote compliance by SA with such requirements," Mr Obama said on Monday.
Mr Obama said in January that the US would suspend SA’s preferential access for agricultural products under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) if it failed to implement an agreement with the US on meat trade. The deal included that US bone-in chicken pieces could be sold in SA without anti-dumping duties.
SA has been under pressure to open its market to US meat in order to retain benefits under Agoa, which favours 39 African nations by eliminating import levies on more than 7,000 products ranging from textiles to manufactured items.
The government published regulations in December allowing for an annual quota of 65,000 tons of poultry from the US. The first shipment arrived in Durban on February 19, the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council said February 29.
"SA has met the benchmarks that we’ve set forth and they’ve taken the needed steps to make American poultry, pork and beef available to consumers in SA," US trade representative Michael Froman told reporters on a conference call on March 2.
"The removal of these barriers could mean an additional $160m of exports from the US each year."
To remain beneficiaries of Agoa, countries are required to cut barriers to US trade and investment, operate a market-based economy, protect workers’ rights and implement economic policies to reduce poverty.
Shipments of farming goods worth $154m made up about 14% of South African exports to the US under Agoa in the first nine months of 2015, according to data from the Trade Law Centre - Bloomberg