Business

Tug of war between FAIRPLAY and AMIE continues

Bitter rivalry between the South African FairPlay Movement and the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) has once again reared its ugly ahead.

FairPlay Movement, a body that advocates for local poultry products, flagged AMIE for being too silent on the achievements of the Master Plan.  

“AMIE, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, has been trumpeting the master plan as an export booster. Yet, in the 18 months since the plan was signed, it has been strangely silent about what it is doing to increase exports, facilitate contracts or open new markets,” it said.

AMIE on the other hand, an association that represents meat importers and exporters, said after International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) slapped its industry with tariffs and accepting ‘alleged’ dumping of frozen bone-in portions of poultry (imported from Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain) questioned the efficacy of the poultry master plan.

“This begs the question; we have the mechanism such as the Poultry Master Plan to investigate all these allegations SAPA places in the media. and public domain, so why don’t we bring these issues to the Task Committee, and drill down and investigate the issues in more detail? I’m sure it’s not really what they make it out to be,” lamented AMIE’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Matthew.

AMIE’s chagrin seem to be that 2020 was not a good year due as covid 19 opened trade restrictions which saw meat imports falling 12.7 down from 2019. “Chicken imports are 19.1% down from 2019. Year on year bone-in cuts are down 27.3%, and boneless cuts are down by 63.4%,” continued Matthew.

The biggest chicken importers into the country were India (3,13.2%) followed by the United States (2, 28.8%) and Brazil (1,29.8%) respectively. However, FairPlay Movement was of the believe that there was widespread chicken dumping taking place that sells at premium prices, and piles up as an unwanted surplus.

Francois Baird, founder of FairPlay Movement, further said that surplus chicken was frozen and “sold in bulk packs to any market that will take it, at any price they can get. Prime markets for the past two decades have been West Africa and SA.”

AMIE feared that if ITAC implemented the second proposed tariffs demanded by local producers it will affect chicken prices in South Africa, given that over 60% of all protein consumed in South Africa was chicken.

FairPlay Movement disputed this and allayed that AMIE failed to explain how tariffs on some imports from some countries (making up only a portion of the 20% of chicken imports) ‘can cause a massive rise in all retail chicken prices.’

Baird added: “As signatories to the poultry master plan, chicken importers are committed to combating unfair trade such as dumping. If they devote some time to reading the application for anti-dumping duties, including the damage done by dumped imports, they might revise their optimism that investigation will find no evidence of dumping.”

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