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South Africa | Brussels, 14 June 2019

EU asks for formal consultations with Southern African Customs Union on trade in poultry

Today, the EU requested formal consultations - a first step in a dispute settlement process - with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) over safeguard measures affecting imports of frozen chicken cuts from the EU.

The EU considers that the extra duties imposed by SACU in September 2018 are not in conformity with the provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the Southern African Development Community (EU-SADC EPA) to which SACU member states – South Africa, the main poultry importer, Namibia, Botswana, Eswatini and Lesotho - are signatories.

The EU has on numerous occasions sought an amicable solution to the issue, to no avail. The EU hopes that both sides can still find a mutually satisfactory solution in the course of the 40-day dispute settlement consultations. If no solution is reached, the EU will be entitled under the EU-SADC agreement to request the establishment of an arbitration panel.

The EU considers that the measure adopted by the SACU - an extra tariff of 35.3% subject to a progressive reduction over a period of three and a half years - goes against requirements set under the EU-SADC agreement.

Safeguard measures can be legally adopted in exceptional circumstances to temporarily counter surging imports that threaten domestic industry. The safeguard measure only had the effect of replacing EU imports, worth earlier some €183 million a year, with the imports from other countries, such as the U.S. and Brazil.

For more information

Consultation request

EU-SADC trade relations