U.S. and South African negotiators on June 5 reached an agreement to end South Africa’s tariffs on U.S. poultry. With the agreement reached, U.S. poultry products are expected to enter the South African market before the end of 2015.

The negotiations were led by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Department of State, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard and trade experts from industry.

“Poultry farmers in Georgia, Delaware and across the country should be able to compete on a level playing field in markets around the world, but for too long, that hasn’t been the case in South Africa,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson and Sen. Chris Coons, co-chairs of the Senate Chicken Caucus. “This is a significant win today in our home states, and an important day for American agriculture.”

“We are pleased that significant progress was made between the U.S. and South African chicken industries that will allow U.S. chicken products access to South Africa after being blocked from that market for the past 15 years,” the senators continued. “A U.S. government delegation, which was led by U.S. Ambassador Gaspard and included trade experts from industry, the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of State, was able to address the most significant obstacles and reach agreement on a path forward for market access. While there are a few details that still need to be addressed, both sides have agreed on a process that should allow those to be addressed by the end of this month.”

The news was embraced by the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) which has been actively pushing for open and fair poultry trade with South Africa.

“We’re pleased with today’s announcement by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and by the offices of Senators Chris Coons of Delaware and Johnny Isakson of Georgia that an agreement has been reached in the dispute between the U.S. and South African poultry industries, which paves the way for the reopening of the South African market to U.S. chicken imports, which have been shut out for the past 15 years.  We look forward to working with our government and the South Africans on implementing this important agreement,” USAPEEC said in a statement. “The real winners will be South Africa’s consumers who will soon have access to additional and affordable protein choices.”