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Davies defends handling of trade negotiations with US

US President Barack Obama has threatened to revoke South Africa's trade benefits for farm exports.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has defended his handling of trade negotiations with the US in the face of criticism that he is to blame for threats to revoke South Africa's trade benefits for farm exports.

President Barack Obama has given South Africa 60 days to meet the requirements of the African Growth and Opportunity Act or agricultural exports to the US will lose their duty-free status.

The US says South Africa is continuing to impose barriers to US beef, pork and poultry products.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says Davies has had months of warnings to address these issues.

The party's Geordin Hill-Lewis says, "For months they've been saying that the ultimate consequence is going to be a suspension of the benefit. So it's really unacceptable that we allowed it to go right until the 11th hour to in fact the point where the notice of suspension is being issued before we finally say OK we'll wrap this up in a week or two."

But Davies says he is happy with his track record.

"Our record is one where we have worked to accommodate and to put within a doable proposition. The provision of access into the US and into South African market for US chicken, doing it in such a way that it is liveable with for the industry."

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