SA meat & poultry markets open to US

Minister Rob Davies has announced SA’s meat and poultry markets are open to the United States.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Picture: AFP/Toshifumi Kitamura.

JOHANNESBURG - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has announced South Africa's meat and poultry markets are open to the United States, following the conclusion of successful African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) negotiations.

The minister made the announcement in Pretoria today after more than a month of intense negotiations.

The US government announced last year that it would impose the tariffs, if South Africa did not open up local markets to that country's poultry, beef and pork.

Davies says all negotiations were concluded last night and outstanding documents have been signed between South Africa and the US.

On Monday, he told the media that issues surrounding salmonella infected poultry, as well as livestock that had not been reared in the US, were two sticking issues.

Davies says the deal will see 65 tons of poultry imported from the US per year and that South Africa will be able to participate in Agoa.

About R35 billion worth of the R70 billion exports to the US arises from the Agoa.

CONSIGNMENTS WILL BE MONITORED & TESTED

Government says the food consignments will be closely monitored and tested for several months to ensure safety compliance.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says poultry consignments will be closely monitored for the next three months.

Davies says the negotiations were to ensure not only the health and well-being of South Africans, but of the country's livestock.

He says local markets have been open to trade under the new regulations since this morning.

However, government is still awaiting final acknowledgment of the agreements from their US counterparts.