The South African government has re-imposed anti-dumping duties of 8.8% to 239% on imported frozen potato chips from the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium last week, as Glenneis Kriel reports in a news story for Farmers Weekly.
This came after the International Trade and Administration Commission (ITAC) found the imports were damaging the local industry by selling below their domestic or production costs. Willie Jacobs, CEO of Potatoes South Africa, noted that frozen potato chip imports had doubled in January, leading to damage to the local industry.
Wolfe Braude, Agbiz Fruit general manager, criticized European exporters for lowering prices through dumping and emphasized that the EU’s generous agricultural subsidies are not matched in South Africa. He pointed out that such dumping practices are not limited to South Africa but are also found in other developing countries like Brazil, Colombia, and China.
While the industry welcomed the reintroduction of duties, Georg Southey, Merlog Foods’ general manager, warned it could escalate prices for quick-service restaurants and corner shops. He also indicated that the current local supply shortage was due to various factors, including load-shedding and disease issues.
According to Willie Jacobs, the competitive pressures and production challenges have decreased the number of potato farmers in South Africa by 14% over the past decade, with further decline anticipated.