BREAKING NEWS: Court action suspended as parties agree on more transparency in the chicken industry
15 May 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914583
THE Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) and the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) have agreed to lift what importers have branded a “veil of secrecy” surrounding SAPA’s application for significantly steeper tariffs on chicken imports, averting a protracted court battle.
The action, launched by AMIE, argued that the public right to information on a tariff application that could impact on the affordability of a major food source must be considered.
In papers lodged before the Gauteng High Court scheduled on the courts’ motion roll for October 14 and 15 this year, AMIE called for transparency regarding SAPA’s application for tariff protection to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC).
The application by SAPA requests that an increase from 37% to 82% ad valorem for ‘bone-in’ cuts of chicken and an exponential increase from 12% to 82% ad valorem for ‘boneless cuts’ of chicken be granted.
AMIE had also requested permission to approach the Constitutional Court to have the validity of two sections of the Amended Tariff Investigation Regulations of 2015 dealing with the confidentiality of information declared invalid as they are inconsistent with the Constitution.
“We are calling for transparency in the matter as SAPA had refused to allow us, sight of the information we require to judge the legitimacy of their claim for tariff protection. They cited information that is ‘confidential to the trade’ in their refusal,” says Paul Matthew, CEO of AIME.
“Our assertion was this material must be made available as massive tariff increases of this nature are of public interest.”
Details of how this will happen following the legal settlement are yet to be announced. SAPA had not commented at the time of publishing.