GENEVA - Brazil has taken the first legal step at the World Trade Organization to challenge South Africa's use of anti-dumping measures on shipments of Brazilian poultry meat, the global trade body said in a statement on Friday.
Brazil has "requested consultations" with South Africa over South Africa's accusation that Brazilian imports were "dumped", or sold at an unfairly low price that damaged South Africa's own poultry sales, the WTO said.
If the consultations fail to resolve the issue, in 60 days' time Brazil could ask the WTO to set up a panel to adjudicate.
The statement did not give any more details, but South Africa's International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) has imposed anti-dumping duties on frozen chickens and chicken meat imported from Brazil after investigating suspected dumping in 2008-2010.
In 2010, Brazil accounted for 94.2 percent of South Africa's total 26,916 tonnes of boneless chicken imports and 44.6 percent of the total 29,039 tonnes of whole chicken imports, ITAC's investigation report said in January.
After calculating the extent of the unfair competition, South Africa put a provisional anti-dumping duty of 62.93 percent on whole chickens and 46.59 percent on boneless cuts from Brazil, except for boneless cuts from Aurora Alimentos, which would incur a duty of 6.26 percent.
The dispute is the first between Brazil and any African country and only the fourth brought against South Africa at the WTO.
All of the previous three cases, brought by India, Indonesia and Turkey, also concerned South Africa's use of anti-dumping measures to protect its market from unwanted imports.
None of those three disputes advanced to the panel stage. India and Turkey did not press their cases and Indonesia withdrew its challenge after South Africa withdrew its anti-dumping measures.