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Minister hopes US gives more time to Agoa negotiators

Rob Davies said agreements have been reached on quotas for chicken as well as poultry trade protocol.

Rob Davies addressing the media and the public on government’s decision on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) on 4 January 2016. Picture: GCIS.

PRETORIA - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is hoping the US gives negotiators more time to conclude agreements to continue African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) trade benefits.

While South Africa has missed the deadline to wrap up all outstanding matters, the minister said most of the issues have been resolved.

The American government announced last year that it would impose tariffs on South African exports that benefit from the Agoa, if it didn't open up local markets to US poultry, beef and pork.

South Africa raised health and safety concerns over the livestock and quality of the products imported, and had until the end of last month to reach an agreement.

Davies said agreements have been reached on quotas for chicken as well as poultry trade protocol on avian flu.

However, he said technical issues related to salmonella contaminated chicken remain unresolved.

"We're hoping that the whistle will not be blown to give our authorities on both sides to engage again. They have a meeting planned for the 6th and the work will continue whether the whistle is blown or not.

The Democratic Alliance has slammed government for missing the deadline, warning that this will have dire consequences for the economy.

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