For the first time in more than 15 years, poultry products from the United States are arriving in South Africa.
On February 29, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the co-chairs of the Senate’s Congressional Chicken Caucus, announced the result of years of work to open the South African market to U.S. poultry exports. A press release stated that the two senators pressured the South African government to end “anti-dumping duties and unfair food safety and health trade policies.”
“Today’s news is the result of years of hard work and negotiations led by our poultry producers and U.S. trade officials, and we are proud to have also played a part,” the senators said in a press release. “This is a significant win for poultry farmers in Delaware and Georgia and for South Africans who will now have access to our healthy, affordable, and high-quality poultry.”
Five containers of bone-in chicken leg quarters and drumsticks from Tyson Foods and House of Raeford Farms arrived in Durban, South Africa, on February 19, a press release from the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council stated. The cuts were repackaged under the Jwayelani Butcheries brand and are now for sale around the city. More meat is on the way to South Africa and will arrive by the middle of March.
The announcement is the result of a June 2015 agreement reached between the U.S. and South Africa that required the rainbow nation to eliminate its barriers to U.S. poultry imports. South Africa failed to meet the obligations of the agreement in a timely manner. In November 2015, President Barack Obama issued a 60-day notice of his intention to suspend the country’s African Growth and Opportunity Act benefits for its agricultural products if it continued to fail to eliminate trade barriers to poultry, beef and pork imports from the U.S. Shortly after the warning period expired, South Africa announced it would comply with the terms of the settlement.
On January 7, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced the two countries reached an agreement to allow U.S. chicken producers to resume exports for the first time since 2000. The U.S. is granted an annual quota of 65,000 metric tons of chicken that will be increased incrementally each year. The annual exports could be worth about $65 million.
The 68-member, bi-partisan, Congressional Chicken Caucus works on issues facing the poultry industry and organizes legislative actions to promote and protect the industry.