Inauguration of President Trump versus USA Chicken Dumping in South Africa
January 20th , 2017 will go down in history as the inauguration date of the forty-fifth president of the United States of America - Donald John Trump.
South Africans who followed the procedures on television, realized that they were witnessing the dawn of a new era. Having an experienced businessman at the helm of the most powerful country in the world, instead of a man who had mastered the dumbfounding conducts of politicians, forecast only changes upon changes.
The majority of economists in South Africa foresee dark years ahead for South Africa and the rest of Africa.
"Expect and prepare for the worst reactionary politics…. we're going to see serious political conflicts around the world and within the United States…” said Patrick Bond, Professor of Political Economy. He predicted the cancelation of many SA/US agreements, which will, among other challenges, lead to higher unemployment in SA.
USA’s agreements with South Africa
USA’s agreements with South Africa involve almost eighty American businesses in SA - businesses that provide work to nearly seventy-thousand South Africans, and indirectly to even more. These American companies spend millions of rand on training and skills development. As they pay maximum tax, they are, like all tax-payers, partly responsible for essential services such as education and health care.
In 2015, SA’s exported $8.4 billion of goods to the USA, and $3.0 billion of services. Imports were $9.1 billion of goods and $1.7 billion of services. USA’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Africa (stock) was $6.2 billion in 2014, which was a 3.1% decrease from 2013. (Direct investments were made in manufacturing, wholesale trade, and scientific/technical services.)
Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), South Africa exports more manufactured products to the United States than any other country. This entails the export of platinum, diamonds, iron, steel, machinery, titanium, BMW’s, Mercedes’, and agricultural products such as tree nuts, fresh fruit, wine, beer, processed fruit & vegetables, and planting seeds.
South Africa’s imports from the USA include among others dirt-cheap chickens.
South Africa kills its own poultry industry by importing cheap chickens from the USA
“Over the last five years, the local poultry industry has grown by just 1.7% while imports have grown by 140%...” explained Kevin Lovell, Chief Executive of the SA Poultry Association, to journalist Mdu Nhlebela on June 23rd , 2016.
The import of cheap chickens, which are sold at a price that cannot cover the production-costs of poultry producers in SA, is destroying South Africa’s poultry industry with its 130,000 employment contracts.
Although Pres. Obama literally forced SA to accept USA chickens, many South Africans nurture another perspective on this matter, namely -
A right-wing perspective on South Africa's import of cheap American chickens -
South Africa’s farming industry is still mainly ‘white’ in spite of the ongoing killing of white farmers and other efforts to make farming a feasible outcome for black South Africans.
To mention only two of SA Government’s efforts to sanction white farmers:
- Refusal to demand in an outspoken manner the ending of farm attacks and the brutal killings of white farmers (while freaking out about the merest white-on-black infliction);
- Importing cheap chickens from the USA.
Continuous importing of cheap chickens will soon destroy South Africa’s poultry industry, including 130,000 jobs.
Opinion of an owfma-sa
Of course, President Donald Trump’s intention to make America great again is exactly what Americans expect of their president. Citizens from all countries over the world want their president to have the same intention regarding their country.
Sadly, in South Africa, and many other countries, the benefit of being a president and minister seems to be the selfish filling of personal pockets (via kickbacks and the sharing of profits).
President Trump’s intention to minimize USA imports while maximizing exports may lead to the termination of trading negotiations between the USA and other countries. If agreements between the USA and South Africa bite the dust - IF - South Africa's poultry industry will no longer have a challenge to meet, but what about the rest of SA's imports and exports from/to the USA? Surely, SA as well as the rest of the world, will find it difficult to survive termination of trading negotiations with the USA!
Perhaps we should not meet troubles half-way. Stick to South Africa's rule: "Don't fetch the baboon behind the hill!"
Let’s hope that the decisions made by Pres. Trump and his fellow-decision makers will manifest only insight and vision worthy to copy.
May America not become great at the cost of the rest of the world!
© 2017 Martie Coetser