News Releases

Friday, June 5, 2015

Isakson, Coons Announce Agreement to End South African Tariffs on American Poultry

Senators pressured South African government, industry leaders for months to end unfair tariffs on U.S. poultry; Applaud overdue agreement to allow U.S. poultry imports access to South Africa markets

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Chris Coons, D-Del., today announced that American and South African negotiators have reached an agreement to end South Africa’s tariffs on U.S. poultry. The agreement is welcome news for the entire U.S. poultry industry, including the large poultry operations in both senators’ home states – Georgia and Delaware. American poultry products are expected to enter the South African market before the end of 2015.

The negotiations were led by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Department of State, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard and trade experts from industry.

“Poultry farmers in Georgia, Delaware and across the country should be able to compete on a level playing field in markets around the world, but for too long, that hasn’t been the case in South Africa,” said Senators Isakson and Coons.  “This is a significant win today in our home states, and an important day for American agriculture.”

“We are pleased that significant progress was made between the U.S. and South African chicken industries that will allow U.S. chicken products access to South Africa after being blocked from that market for the past 15 years,” the senators continued. “A U.S. government delegation, which was led by U.S. Ambassador Gaspard and included trade experts from industry, the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of State, was able to address the most significant obstacles and reach agreement on a path forward for market access. While there are a few details that still need to be addressed, both sides have agreed on a process that should allow those to be addressed by the end of this month.”

Senators Isakson and Coons, both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have pressured the South African government for nearly a year to end the tariffs. Most recently, the senators secured language in the reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) requiring the USTR to conduct reviews of South Africa’s trade practices, specifically anti-dumping duties on U.S. poultry.

Isakson and Coons are the co-chairs of the Senate Chicken Caucus. Both their states have large poultry industries and are big exporters of poultry. The poultry industry annually contributes over $15.1 billion to the Georgia economy, including farmers, processing, and allied industries.