Thirteen  U.S. Senators sent a letter March 30 to Dr. Robert Davies, South Africa’s Minister, Department of Trade and Industry and Ambassador Faizel Ismail, South Africa’s Special Envoy for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) expressing their concern that little progress has been made in reaching a solution on South Africa’s antidumping duties levied on American-raised poultry for the last 15 years.

The Senators expressed concern that “formal negotiations have yet to take place on the issue,” pointing out that “this work needs to be done in the imminent future before AGOA is reauthorized.”  “We are concerned that news reports from South African media is recent weeks suggest that the South African Poultry Association is drawing a hard line on their most recent offer to the U.S. industry and may not be willing to continue negotiations in good faith. This message appears to be in sharp and disappointing contrast with the South African government’s approach, which has been earnest, open and responsible,” the letter said.

The letter urged Minister Davies and Ambassador Ismail to continue to work with the South African Poultry Association and to “encourage them to not shut the door on negotiations.”  The letter also urged them to convey to the South African Poultry Association the important of meeting formally with the U.S.A. Poultry and Egg Export Council in the coming weeks to continue to work on negotiations in real time.”

AGOA must be reauthorized before September when it expires and it is expected that AGOA may come before the Senate Finance Committee in the next month.

Senators Isakson and Coons lead the Chicken Caucus.  Signers of the letter include the following senators:

  • John Boozman (R-AR)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
  • Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • Bob Casey (D-PA)
  • Dan Coats (R-IN)
  • Christopher Coons (D-DE)
  • John Cornyn (R-TX)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Tim Kaine (D-VA)
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
  • David Perdue (R-GA)
  • Mark Warner (D-VA)