FairPlay and chicken importers take a swipe at each other

FairPlay and chicken importers take a swipe at each other.png

A row has broken out between FairPlay and chicken importers after the advocacy group’s assertion that there had been a six-fold increase in bone-in chicken imports from Brazil after South Africa delayed imposing anti-dumping duties on those imports.

“Fake news”, said ChickenFacts, subsidiary and mouthpiece of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters.

ChickenFacts accused the organisation of using “statistics to bolster weak arguments”.

“They then went on a long detour to do exactly that, quoting 18-month volumes and averages to argue that bone-in chicken imports from Brazil are declining and could not have gone up by 600%,” FairPlay points out.

“Unfortunately for them, that is exactly what happened. As FairPlay stated, bone-in chicken imports from Brazil rose from 572 tonnes last August, when the anti-dumping duties should have been imposed, to 3 530 tonnes in April, the latest statistics available.”

That, says the organisation, is a six-fold increase. “And, no matter how much importers try to spin the numbers, and whine about FairPlay’s ‘narrative of dumping’, facts are facts.

“ChickenFacts accused us of picking a low import volume starting point (August last year) – and a high volume end-point (April this year) in order to make our case.

“However, last August was not an arbitrary choice. That was the month when South African trade minister Ebrahim Patel decided that anti-dumping duties against Brazil were warranted, but that he would delay imposing them for a year.”

FairPlay measured what happened after that, noting that Brazil was “taking full advantage of the licence to dump” provided by the South African government. Bone-in chicken imports from Brazil have risen every month for the first four months of this year, from 1 200 tonnes in January to 3 530 tonnes in April.

“Yes, chicken imports have been declining for the past few years. FairPlay has said so repeatedly, most recently in the article to which ChickenFacts takes exception. But a reversal of that trend may be under way, and it looks like Brazilian poultry producers have been raising bone-in chicken volumes this year in anticipation of those delayed anti-dumping duties coming into effect in August.

“There is a further reason for them to get as much chicken under way to South Africa as possible. Bird flu is spreading among Brazil’s wild birds. It has not yet reached commercial poultry flocks, but when it does, the outcome is likely to be a ban on some or all of Brazilian poultry imports into South Africa.”

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