PROF CT MSIMANG MP
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) comes up for possible renewal during a precarious period of global economic uncertainty, US domestic procedural scheduling issues and unresolved problems between US poultry exporters and the South African Poultry Association.
These are the current challenges facing the new version of AGOA which is going to be possibly adopted by US Congress before 30th September 2015.
Honourable Speaker, it is common knowledge that since AGOA came into operation, it has certainly had a significant positive impact on our economy and as well as other economies on the African continent. It has directly contributed to job creation and income generation during its two previous 5 year terms. It is a policy instrument that has tremendous benefit not only for South Africa but for the entire continent as well.
It now seeks another 10 years after its Bill was jointly introduced before Congress earlier this year, but is being met with resistance from inside the US centred around South African AGOA participation because of a long standing grievance by American poultry exporters about local import barriers on US poultry exports.
The main bone of contention as it were, being that whilst the US has tariffs of up to 100% on poultry exports to South Africa, other exporting nations, enjoy much lower barriers to entry, such as the EU who is currently only at 37.5%.
The question is should AGOA which encompasses far greater benefit to South Africa and the continent, than mere chicken imports, (which in all probability would not be that high in any event) be held to ransom by the uncompromising stance of the SA poultry Association which seems to have Government in its pocket on this issue?
The Trade implications and large scale benefits for South Africa and the continent arising from our participation in AGOA certainly appear greatly to outweigh the potential negative effects of a reduction in import tariffs on US poultry into South Africa.
This government needs to place the benefits of the many before those of the few, whilst being mindful of the concerns of the South African Poultry Association, but ensure the continued existence of AGOA for South Africa and the Continent of Africa.
I thank you.
Contact: Hon CT Msimang, MP, on 082 452 2650
IFP Media, Parliament