South Africa has until March 15 to comply with US laws on import of poultry as well as other meat or risk losing duty-free access for its farming exports to the U.S.
This was after US President Barack Obama on Monday, January 11, ordered the suspension of duty-free access to all AGOA-eligible goods in the agricultural sector from the country, effective on that date.
“Suspending the application of duty-free treatment to certain goods would be more effective in promoting compliance by South Africa with such requirements than terminating the designation of South Africa as a beneficiary,” the U.S. said in a statement.
South Africa has been under pressure to open its market on US meat imports for it to continue benefiting under the trade organisation.
On January 7, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies had announced that the two countries had resolved the issue and South Africa would continue to participate in AGOA without interruptions when a deal was sealed on the health standards of meat.
But the new 60-day deadline, puts added pressure on the country to comply or risk losing its benefits.
“I have determined that South Africa is not meeting the requirements described in section 506A(a)(1) of the 1974 Act and that suspending the application of duty-free treatment of certain goods would be more effective in promoting compliance by South Africa with such requirements than terminating the designation of South Africa as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country,” said Obama in the statement.
To remain beneficiaries of AGOA, member countries are expected to cut barriers with U.S. trade and investment, operate a market-based economy, protect workers’ rights and implement economic policies to reduce poverty.