JOHANNESBURG - South African meat importers warned on Thursday a hasty decision to implement tariff increases on chicken imported from non-EU and SADC countries could see shortages of poultry in local markets which domestic producers may not be able to meet.
An independent study commissioned by the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) into the South African chicken industry found that despite already high levels of trade protection, domestic producers have not increased production to meet growing demand.
AMIE said the research by global multi-disciplinary business advisory group, FTI Consulting, shows that significant tariff increases in an industry would result in chicken volumes available locally potentially dropping by more than 44,650 tons if current proposals are accepted.
Meat importers said the drop in volumes will result in higher prices and an estimated loss in GDP of R1.1 billion in the first year following an increase in tariffs, accompanied by rising unemployment, which will cause a further drop in domestic consumption and investment.
This goes against South Africa's large poultry producers under the South African Poultry Association which has applied for tariff increases against imports that range from 12 percent to 37 percent, to a flat 82 percent to be introduced to protect local industry from imports.