The International Trade Administration Commission, which is the de facto trade regulator for the SACU market, has concluded a preliminary investigation into the dumping of poultry products in SACU.

Technical adviser to the Namibian Agricultural Trade Forum (ATF), Maria Immanuel, said that after reviewing the submissions and comments from all interested parties, the ITAC has issued a preliminary determination that the product in question originated or imported from Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain is being dumped. in the SACU market, causing material injury and threat of material injury to the SACU poultry industry.

“As a result, the ITAC requested the competent authorities to impose provisional measures (anti-dumping measures) on imports of the subject products for a period of six months. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) published the measure on 4 March 2022, to be implemented with retroactive effect from December 17, 2021 until June 14, 2022 inclusive,” Immanuel said.

By implication, SARS also manages the implementation of the SACU customs tariff system.

In commercial terms, dumping occurs when the exporting country sells the subject product in SACU at prices below normal value in the countries of origin. Anti-dumping action is normally initiated by domestic producers by submitting a petition to ITAC.

Immanuel alleged that as a result of the dumping of the product at issue from these countries, the SACU industry was suffering material injury in the form of price undercutting, price depression during the period 2017/18 – 2018/19, price compression, lower profits, lower return on investment, lower capacity and capacity utilization and increased inventories.

Turning to the implications for Namibia, she noted that it was clear from the detailed ITAC report that only South African poultry producers (eight of them) initiated the investigation by filing an application with the ‘ITAC on behalf of the SACU market.

“ITAC procedures only require that a substantial part of the national industry or market be affected in order for it to act. The South African poultry sector is deemed large enough to meet this requirement on its own without that poultry industries in other SACU countries need to be taken into account,” Immanuel explained.

Whether Namibia and other SACU members (Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini) participate or not, the outcome and its implementation directly affects all SACU members since SACU has a common external tariff, making it a common customs territory or, in simple terms, a market.

She noted that importers in Namibia would have to pay the applicable anti-dumping duties when importing from these countries, while domestic producers will also benefit from the protection afforded by the additional duties.

The lessons for Namibia in this situation are that the country should prioritize the institutionalization of its own trade regulatory body to align the implementation of the SACU agreement and other trade agreements in place and those that yet to be implemented such as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

A trade regulatory body will enable Namibia to establish and strengthen its capacity for trade remedies, including trade investigations for dumping and countervailing measures (an increase in imports when the domestic market is opened up to products under a commercial agreement), as well as to coordinate the setting of prices. and implementation issues, as well as rebate determination, with ITAC.

Immanuel added that the body will balance support for the private sector within the customs union to maximize the benefits of the SACU agreement and other international trade agreements already in place.

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