follow us on twitter: @GoAfricaNetwork
America and South Africa are beating the drumsticks of trade war
Nov 17th 2015
SOUTH AFRICANS eat about 1.8m tonnes of chicken a year, from flame-grilled drumsticks slathered in peri-peri sauce to “walkie talkies”, a dish of chicken feet and heads popular in townships. Chicken, the cheapest meat here, is the main source of protein for poorer South Africans. But demand is growing, and a weak currency has sent prices soaring by 13% over the past two years. Prices may well climb higher still due to a scorching drought that is devastating South African agriculture and pushing up the price of grain that farmers feed to chickens.
All of this makes the South African government’s slowness in resolving a trade impasse with America over imports of chicken, beef and pork all the more baffling. The chicken dispute, in particular, has been dragging on for some 15 years. American producers complain that their access to the South African market is frustrated by high duties (imposed ostensibly because American producers have been “dumping” chicken at below the cost of production) and a bewildering array of non-tariff barriers such as concerns that American chicken may be contaminated by bird flu or other diseases.