“The investigation came about as a result of an application by the South African Poultry Association that had alleged various dumping from the UK, Netherlands and Germany,” Siyabulela Tsengiwe, chief commissioner of the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac), told CNBC Africa.
“Having evaluated the application, verified the information of the applicant, the commission found prima facie evidence of dumping, injury and causality, and therefore decided to initiate the investigation.”
Anti-dumping duties have since been imposed on poultry imports from the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands in a bid to level and protect South Africa’s local poultry industry. Tariffs of between 22 per cent and 76 per cent have been imposed.
(READ MORE: S.Africa's tariff increases affects European poultry producers)
“The variation in the rates for the different countries depends on the financial information that we use from the different countries. It also depends on the methodologies that we use that would differ, depending on the information that we are using, and cooperation from the foreign producers and exporters,” Tsengiwe explained.
The tariffs are however an interim measure and will be revisited next year. Between then and now, according to Tsengiwe, predicting the outcome will be difficult because of myriad factors.
(WATCH VIDEO: S.Africa Poultry Association views on dumping poultry tariffs)
“We cannot predict what will happen at the final stage of the investigation. Interested parties will now again have another opportunity to respond and comment on the preliminary report, provide us with more information, on the basis of which the commission will make a final finding. At this stage, [it] would be pre-mature for us to speculate what the final outcomes will be,” he said.
One of the major concerns however is that the consumer could ultimately suffer due to the tariffs, as chicken retail prices are likely to rise.
Tsengiwe nevertheless explains that the focus should be on eradicating unfair trade by putting measures to level the playing field between South African and foreign producers and exporters.
“The effect of the anti-dumping duty would be to eliminate the price undercutting that domestic producers have been experiencing in relation to cheaper and dumped imports from the European Union. We do take into account the effects on consumers,” said Tsengiwe.