South Africa agrees to import chicken from US

GMT 07:45 2015 Saturday ,19 September

Arab Today, arab today South Africa agrees to import chicken from US

Import chicken from US
Johannesburg - AFP

outh Africa and the United States have tentatively agreed on the latter's export of chicken to the former, a government official said on Friday.

Faizel Ismail, South Africa's special envoy for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), said it has been agreed that October 15 has been set on the protocol to be followed for U.S. chicken imports to South Africa (SA).

He told Xinhua that South Africa has been for the last five years trying to get a certification for the exports of its beef without success.

A high-powered U.S. delegation met with South Africa officials in Pretoria on Friday in an attempt to break the trade barriers in relation to South Africa's exportation of beef and ostrich to the U.S..

"I don't foresee any huddles on the way on this time around," Ismail said.

"The South African official wanted to find out how long and how best it can be done to speed the issuing of a health certificate for beef," Ismail said.

He noted that the process to obtain a health certification is underway.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that South Africa will allow 65,000 tonnes of bone-in chicken to be imported from the US duty free, as agreed in Paris in June.

The meeting was held between the U.S. representatives Eric Coleman and Mark Davidson and South African officials from the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

At the meeting South Africa had a basketful of export list which includes agricultural products which the country would like to see given entry into the American market.

Although the U.S. renewed the AGOA for another decade in July, Washington is currently conducting an out-of-cycle review of SA's participation in the programme.

South Africa International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is in the U.S. to meet with her U.S. counterpart John Kerry for talks on bilateral trade.

"The breakdown in communication between Pretoria and Washington has been fixed and both sides have accepted that it needs to be fixed," Clayson Monyela, spokesperson of the South African International Relations and Cooperation.

Bilateral trade between South Africa and the U.S. increased from about 130 billion (about 9.7 billion dollars) in 2013 to 141 billion rand (about 10.6 billion dollars) in 2014.

The United States enjoyed a trade surplus with South Africa in 2014, for the first time since 2009.

SA imports 400,000 tons of chicken annually of which about 150,000 tons are bone-in chicken cuts, mainly from Europe.

The U.S. has been hard hit by an avian flu outbreak which has spread to 20 states, prompting the South African government to restrict the importation of US beef.

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