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EU imports ‘hurt South African agro-processing firms’

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Thursday, 11 April 2013

EU imports ‘hurt South African agro-processing firms’

South African agro-processing firms are struggling to compete against imports from the European Union (EU) that enter the local market duty-free because of the trade development and co-operation agreement (TDCA) South Africa has with the EU, International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) chief commissioner Siyabulela Tsengiwe said on Wednesday, 24 March.
In terms of the trade and co-operation agreement, about 85% of goods from the EU come into South Africa duty-free and about 80% of South African goods entering the EU do so. Especially, olive oil imports were cited by industry sources as having a negative effect on local producers.
The existence of the EU-South Africa trade agreement, established in 1999 and fully implemented last year (2011) specifies that tariffs cannot be increased.
Itac said, that South Africa can respond the trend by using antidumping or countervailing duties, or other safeguards allowed by the World Trade Organisation.
For example, to prove that dumping was taking place, an applicant for tariffs would have to show a disparity between the export and local prices, prove that an injury had been suffered and that this injury was the direct result of the dumping.
Trade Law Chambers director Rian Geldenhuys said the agreement was not an unequivocal success, as South African negotiators had not been aware at the time of certain pitfalls, had not insisted on the inclusion of certain claw-back provisions and had not been closely attuned to business interests. It was problematic, he said, that South Africa’s agro-processed goods were subject to higher tariff barriers in the EU than vice versa.

Source: Business Day