CAPE TOWN – Signs that import protection tariffs for the sugar industry might be phased out indicated a turnaround in government thinking on this issue, SA Sugar Importers Association chief executive Chris Engelbrecht said on Thursday.
The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry said it had heard that the protectionist strategy for the sugar industry needed to be phased out in favour of one based on competitiveness.
This followed engagements between the industry and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, and Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza.
Stakeholders agreed to an export-led approach targeting the African market through the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to support industry competitiveness.
This represents a refusal to agree to pleas from the local industry to tighten controls on sugar entering the South African market from other African countries.