"It makes it awkward for the two countries' existing friendship to be compromised by such an unreasonable attitude, totally lacking reciprocity with the trust that Brazil has placed in this relationship," said Francisco Turra, executive president of Brazil' s poultry association. "It is good to remember that right before the announcement of this antidumping measure, Airports Company SA, along with Brazilian holding company Invepar, won a concession bid for Guarulhos International Airport," he said.
Feathers fly in fowl spat as Brazil takes SA to WTO
Johannesburg: The squabble between SA and Brazil over poultry tariffs worsened at the weekend, after Brazil's foreign ministry said it would lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), citing SA's "uncooperativeness" and "unreasonable attitude". Brazil has claimed the dispute has compromised the "friendship" it has with SA.
The two nations are part of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA) group of leading developing countries, which SA had hoped would result in more investment coming from Asia and South America, a shift from historical economic ties with northern countries.
But last week, the two countries could not agree on provisional anti-dumping measures taken by SA on certain cuts of Brazilian chicken.
Yesterday, a Department of Trade and Industry spokesman said it was within WTO rules to impose provisional tariffs. All interested parties, including the Brazilian poultry association, had been advised to submit comments to SA's International Trade Administration Commission, which would then make recommendations to the minister of trade and industry.
Last week, Zoleka Xabendlini, the commission's senior manager of trade remedies, said its investigation was complete and would be presented to the minister soon. "All the submissions and comments made by interested parties, including Brazil's poultry association, have been considered by the commission," she said.
However, Brazil's poultry association insists it had approached the minister informally on several occasions to no avail and had made submissions to the commission, but none had been considered — in contravention of WTO rules.
"It makes it awkward for the two countries' existing friendship to be compromised by such an unreasonable attitude, totally lacking reciprocity with the trust that Brazil has placed in this relationship," said Francisco Turra, executive president of Brazil' s poultry association.
"It is good to remember that right before the announcement of this antidumping measure, Airports Company SA, along with Brazilian holding company Invepar, won a concession bid for Guarulhos International Airport," he said.
The association had tried various means to negotiate with the South African government, from visits to the South African embassy in Brazil to missions to Johannesburg, before calling on its foreign ministry to approach the WTO, he said. "This is not a path I would like to go down, but there are no other alternatives regarding this injustice, which has resulted in annual losses of $70m." SA now has 60 days to respond to the WTO.
Another spokesman for the Brazilian poultry association said on Friday the South African consumer would ultimately be the loser. "We tried to solve the problem between the two countries. We believe it is related to political pressure to create jobs. They are convinced it will create more jobs if the market is closed. This is not the case."
The application for additional duties on Brazilian imports of whole birds and boneless cuts to SA had been brought by the South African Poultry Association, which represents some of the larger players.
CEO Kevin Lovell said the association still firmly believed the Brazilians were dumping chicken. "Brazil are afraid bigger trading partners may institute similar action or use the South African example as a reference. Once labelled a baddie, you will always be a baddie — this is a real threat to them."
The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters supported Brazil, CEO David Wolpert said on Friday, and had applied for a review of the commission's decision. " A lot of information from us and Brazil's poultry association was ignored and the statistics used to arrive at the decision were incorrect."