In a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk yesterday the National Chicken Council and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USPEEC)  said that they “strongly urge you to match Brazil’s commitment to its industry by filing a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge on behalf of U.S. chicken exporters” against the anti-dumping duties South Africa imposed on U.S. chicken nearly 12 years ago.Further “we urge the U.S. government to support Brazil as a third-party in its case if Brazil will agree to reciprocate and support the United States in its case”, the letter added.

On June 21,  Brazil filed a challenge with the WTO against the anti-dumping duties South Africa imposed on Brazilian chicken.  South Africa imposed anti-dumping duties on U.S. poultry imports over two decades ago using the “same flawed theory” that it recently used against Brazilian imports, the letter explained.

Using a weighted average export price for U.S. bone-in chicken cuts from 2000 through the first quarter of 2012, the effective average duty levied by South Africa on these products is 258.8 percent, the letter said.  If South Africa opens its market to U.S. bone-in chicken parts, exports would increase to 127,000 metric tons annually according to an analysis by USAPEEC and U.S. bone-in chicken parts price would increase 4 percent at the wholesale level.

“At every step, the South African government acted on the assumption that it would violate WTO rules with impunity, and U.S. inaction has confirmed and rewarded that approach.  Worse yet, U.S. tolerance of South Africa’s illegal actions has emboldened other countries, including China, Ukraine, and Mexico to bring almost identical anti-dumping cases against U.S. poultry.  Countries like South Africa are illegally blocking U.S. exports at a time when the President’s policy is to double U.S. exports over a five-year period.  And, U.S. poultry is perhaps the most competitive and potentially successful export sector in U.S. agriculture,” the letter said.

“It is time for our government to tell South Africa we will no longer accept that exclusion.  It is time for the U.S. government to show the same commitment to its poultry export industry that Brazil is showing to its” [own industry], the letter concluded.  The letter is available here.