Trade Briefs

More Trade Disputes in 2017? Starting with Measures Against EU Chickens

More Trade Disputes in 2017? Starting with Measures Against EU Chickens

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18 Jan 2017

Author(s): Gerhard Erasmus

African governments do not believe in adjudication as a means for settling trade disputes. This is unfortunate. A final and binding ruling clears the air, removes uncertainty about the meaning of the applicable law and the facts, and allows business to continue.

Safeguard measures are standard practice under trade agreements and allow (under specific conditions) for the protection of the local industry when there is an upsurge in the importation of certain goods as a result of trade liberalisation. They are not aimed at unfair trade practice, as anti-dumping duties are.

A widespread outbreak of deadly, highly pathogenic avian influenza in several EU countries has virtually stopped all EU poultry imports into South Africa. Since the avian flu outbreak will come as a welcome reprieve for the South African poultry industry, which has been complaining that it is being driven out of business by cheap imports, one wonders how the causation of serious injury requirement for lawful safeguards will in this instance be proven.

This year, 2017, may bring interesting developments about the interpretation and application of a very important trade agreement – the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement. This author would welcome the wider benefits and clarifications which may ensue. It will strengthen the case for rules-based trade, predictability, and the enforcement of rights; irrespective of the identity of the parties to the agreement in question. 


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