After a 15-year hiatus, U.S. poultry has arrived in South Africa following last year’s agreement between the two countries requiring South Africa to eliminate barriers to U.S. poultry imports.
U.S. Senator Chris Coons, D-Delaware, said the announcement is significant for Delaware. The poultry industry contributes $4.6 billion to the state’s economy and supports more than 14,000 jobs, according to the National Chicken Council.
“We are thrilled that after more than 15 years of South Africa illegally blocking imports of U.S. poultry, chicken from Delaware, Georgia, and states around the United States will finally reach the dinner tables of South Africans,” stated Coons and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, who co-chair the Senate Chicken Caucus.
Coons and Isakson have been part of the efforts to encourage the South African government to end anti-dumping duties and food safety and health trade policies on U.S. poultry.
In June the United States and South Africa reached an agreement after negotiations in Paris led by the United States Trade Representative, the Department of State, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard and trade experts from the poultry industry.
After the U.S. government said issues in the agreement weren’t addressed by the South African government, President Barack Obama said he would suspend benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act for South Africa’s agricultural products if it didn’t comply. Shortly after, South Africa agreed to fulfill the agreement.
“Today’s news is the result of years of hard work and negotiations led by our poultry producers and U.S. trade officials, and we are proud to have also played a part,” Coons and Isakson said in a statement.
“This is a significant win for poultry farmers in Delaware and Georgia and for South Africans who will now have access to our healthy, affordable and high-quality poultry.”