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‘AGOA bad for poultry industry, good for economy’

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says he knows this is difficult time for chicken farmers.

FILE: Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The poultry industry had to make a sacrifice in trade talks with the US and the signing of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) accord but the economy will benefit as a whole, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Monday.

Government this weekend confirmed that an agreement was reached between the two countries as to how much chicken could be brought into South Africa.

The deal means South Africa can now sign up to trade terms for the new round of the AGOA for the next 10 years.

Davies says he knows this is difficult time for chicken farmers.

"The poultry industry is not benefiting from the renewal of AGOA."

Davies also says he wants to thank the chicken and poultry industry for making the sacrifice, saying it's an important breakthrough.

"The benefits to the economy as a whole are obviously larger than the prize we paid in the poultry sector. So we should credit the poultry industry for having come to the party and be part of the process."

South Africa imposed "anti-dumping" duties of above 100 percent on certain chicken products and industry groups said removing those import barriers opened a market, which had been closed for the last 15 years.

The agreement would see the US emerge as one of the top poultry exporters to Africa's most advanced economy.

AGOA is a non-reciprocal trade preference initiative providing duty-free treatment to US imports of certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.