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US-South Africa trade truce ends, Pretoria blocks poultry on avian flu fear

The United States will suspend duty-free benefits for South Africa on March 15 because it is blocking American poultry imports over fears of avian flu after promising to do otherwise.

US-South Africa trade truce ends, Pretoria blocks poultry on avian flu fear
14 January 2016 - 21:09

US-South Africa trade truce ends, Pretoria blocks poultry on avian flu fear

The United States will suspend duty-free benefits for South Africa on March 15 because it is blocking American poultry imports over fears of avian flu after promising to do otherwise.

This comes after the recent rapprochement between the two countries in which they agreed would stop blocking each other's farm produce on condition that Pretoria's words at trade talks meant American goods would be available to South African consumers. 

The suspension is seen by analysts as a move to pressure Pretoria to loosen restrictions on US farm exports, in particular on US poultry, Reuters reports.

Now South Africa has said it is concerned that an outbreak of avian flu in the United States, which killed nearly 50 million birds, could pose animal and human health risks to its economy. The US says such fears are groundless.

Said US President Barack Obama: "I have determined that South Africa is not meeting the requirements and that suspending the application of duty-free treatment to certain goods would be more effective in promoting compliance."

South Africa's trade ministry said it was working with US officials to facilitate the first shipment of poultry and believed the suspension would be lifted as soon as products were in local stores.

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