South Africa officially open to (some) US pork, poultry, and beef

By Spencer Chase

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2016 - After a prolonged trade ban that resulted in threats of retaliatory action from the Obama administration, South Africa will begin accepting select shipments of U.S. pork, following through on a commitment made in January.

South African trade barriers on U.S. pork were in violation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, President Barack Obama said in a November letter to House and Senate leaders, threatening to lift trade benefits the country enjoyed under AGOA if the ban wasn't lifted.  The administration announced in early January that South Africa had agreed to resume buying U.S. pork.

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In a statement, National Pork Producers Council President Ron Prestage said his organization was “pleased” to see South Africa resuming imports

“U.S. pork producers had been on the outside looking in as competitors from Brazil, Canada and the European Union sold pork to South Africa, which banned our product using non-science-based restrictions that didn't pass the red-face test,” Prestage said. He went on to say that there is “no scientific reason to restrict any of our pork,” so NPPC will continue working toward a complete lift of the ban.

South Africa was said to be trying to prevent the spread of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). NPPC contends the risk of disease transmission from U.S. pork products was “negligible.”

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U.S. exporters can now send raw, frozen pork to the country for sale or for further processing. The ban was lifted on frozen or fully-cooked poultry slaughtered after Nov. 15 of last year as well as beef and pork slaughtered after June 25, 2015. For a breakdown of the products that are and aren't allowed under latest agreement, click here.

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