ANNOUNCEMENT 02 Nov 2015In November 2015, the government of the United States of America announced a change in import duties.
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On November 2, 2015 the U.S. Trade Representative announced that as of January 1, 2016 South Africa would no longer ship agricultural products duty-free to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Under AGOA, South Africa enjoys duty-free access to the U.S. market for nearly all products that might otherwise be dutiable, provided that they meet the program's rules of origin. This determination was reached under a review of South Africa that was mandated by Congress in Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. "South Africa continues to maintain several long-standing barriers to U.S. agricultural products. 'In the context of the review," the USTR noted, stating that "South Africa committed to benchmarks on poultry, pork, and beef that it would need to meet in order to demonstrate compliance with AGOA's eligibility requirements. South Africa failed to meet October 15, 2015 benchmarks related to U.S. poultry, including finalizing an avian influenza trade protocol for the export of U.S. poultry meat, as well as a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export certificate for poultry to enable poultry shipments to occur by the end of the year.U.S. and South African officials continue to engage to address and resolve barriers to U.S. poultry, pork, and beef." The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) had urged that AGOA benefits be withdrawn because of South Africa's reluctance to provide market access to U.S. meat products. According to NPPC, 'South Africa enforces import restrictions on U.S. pork to prevent diseases for which there are negligible risks of transmission from U.S. pork products.' More specifically, the South African Ministry of Agriculture restricts pork because of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome.
These sanctions were ultimately avoided in a settlement between the two countries.