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Chicken importers head to court

Jun 18 2013 09:03 Sapa

South Africans could pay up to 50% more for chicken at the till as soon as July or August. (Shutterstock)

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The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (Amie) will bring an application in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday for information about an increase in chicken import duty costs.

Announcing the planned court action earlier this month, Amie said the information might shed light on future chicken import duty costs.

It opposed an increase, which it feared could be anything up to 82%, from 24%.

Amie said its application was being filed against the SA Poultry Association (Sapa) and the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) of SA's chief commissioner, for access to information the Sapa had supplied Itac.

"We believe [the information] is flawed, and we want a chance to interrogate it properly," said Amie executive committee member Georg Southey.

Amie claimed higher import duties would make prices higher for consumers, whose only source of protein, in many cases, was chicken.

It was also concerned that it could cause job losses among the 15 000 people who cut, repackaged and distributed the imported chicken.

At the time, the SAPA claimed the court action was disrupting what was usually an internal process, but said it respected Amie's right to do go to court.

"It is for the judge to decide," said the Sapa's CEO, Kevin Lovell.

The proper way of doing things would be to take Itac's decision about an import duty increase on review once it was made, he said.


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