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‘US traders are not bullying SA on trade benefits’

The US Embassy in Pretoria says the US want access to the poultry market in South Africa.

FILE: Last week, the US demanded that South Africa open its poultry market to US imports by threatening to suspend the benefits that South African agricultural products receive under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Picture: freeimages.com.

JOHANNESBURG - The US Embassy in Pretoria says it does not expect to go ahead with the threatened suspension of South Africa's access to trade benefits.

Last week, the US demanded that South Africa open its poultry market to US imports by threatening to suspend the benefits that South African agricultural products receive under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

US President Barack Obama has given this country 60 days to comply.

The US Embassy says it does not buy into public perception that US traders are bullying South Africa with regards to poultry.

Instead, the embassy's Laird Treiber says the two countries are now simply trying to reach an agreement on technical issues like trade standards and procedures.

"It's not a question of standards so much as a question of harmonising our procedures. We have a slightly different structure in some cases."

But he says the US want access to the poultry market in South Africa.

"We have been kept out of this market for 15 years, while every other major exporter has been allowed in and South Africa is growing to become an ever more important market."

Treiber has reiterated Minister Rob Davies's comments saying that an agreement is likely to be reached by the end of the year.