Cape Town - Industry bodies have welcomed the reopening of wool exports to China.
The Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) said wool exports were banned when a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak was detected in the northern provinces of South Africa in early 2022.
“Agbiz welcomes the decision of the People’s Republic of China to once again accept wool exports from South Africa. The decision is a welcome development within the context of an increasingly volatile environment for international trade.
“When South Africa relinquished its FMD-free status in 2019, a protocol was agreed upon with the People’s Republic of China to mitigate any chance of contamination by registered warehouses following the time/heat inactivation protocol.
“Exports were once again halted when a FMD outbreak was detected in the northern provinces of South Africa in 2022.
“Roughly 80% of South Africa’s wool exports are destined for the People’s Republic of China, thereby threatening the sustainability of an industry that supports 8 000 commercial farmers and 40 000 communal farmers.
“The announcement that trade will once again take place under this protocol provides a much-needed boost to the industry.”
Agri SA and the National Wool Growers’ Association of South Africa (NWGA) said they were relieved to learn that the South African government has secured the agreement to lift the ban on South African wool exports.
“The ban jeopardised more than 35 000 jobs and an additional 4 500 seasonal jobs. With more that 70 to 80% of South Africa’s clip exported to China annually, the impact of the ban could have been devastating.
“We want to thank Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza, and Minister for Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel, as well as the directors-general of these departments for their working in securing this relief. This is an example of what can be achieved through effective partnership between industry and government.”