EU Safeguard Action.
This issue still hangs over our head.
After distribution of a poor and incomplete essential facts letter, ITAC has issued a second one, to which we are currently responding.
The process going forward is that ITAC will then need to consider all responses before taking a decision at the next ITAC committee meeting which is due to take place on 13th October 2016.
Any decision taken there will have to be conveyed to the Minister of Trade and Industry,Dr.Davies, who will consider ITAC’s recommendations and then refer the matter to a joined Co-operation Council consisting of EU and South African representatives,to debate.This council is due to meet early in November.
If there is no agreement reached, ITAC may proceed with a provisional safeguard duty.
At this point in time, based upon the essential facts letter, they are considering a safeguard of 13.4% but that percentage is not locked in stone and could change.
We are obviously fighting for a zero safeguard and this fight is taking place on numerous fronts, including, but not limited to, the legal arena.
Durban Port Issues
Members are well aware of the very inconvenient and costly delays at the Durban port.
We need to place on record again that we do not expect DAFF to compromise on health issues and not to perform their functions efficiently and effectively.
Having said that, we think that it was both negligent and disrespectful of them to suddenly impose massive changes to both import and export protocols without any prior consultation with either importers or exporters.
This has created total unnecessary and costly problems for traders.
In order to implement such changes, DAFF also requires adequate infrastructure and capacity to cope with such changes, which they simply do not possess.
Based upon current import volumes moving through Durban some 8500 samples need to be tested monthly, and that excludes resampling, and exports.
They simply were not ready for this.We do see improvements from time to time, but as soon as they come up against any hindrances like staff absences the entire situation regresses once again.
We also have doubts about their administration and communication set up being able to cope.Much of the information they have supplied us about unreleased containers has simply been wrong.
We have supplied them with a resource to work on exports, which had come to a complete standstill, until year end (at our cost), where after they will have to make their own arrangements for export facilitation.
During all this there have also been many test failures.This is surprising when one considers that identical product from the same plants, has been passed for years,and is currently experiencing no sampling problems when landing in Cape Town.
Part of the reason for this can be the unhygienic sample harvesting and transportation to laboratories in Durban.We have repeatedly pointed this out to DAFF.There is also talk of different sensitivities between the equipment at the various laboratories, which is being investigated currently by DAFF.
We appreciate the hardships that many of you are experiencing and we will not let up until the situation is normalized.
We are currently escalating the issue and are expected to meet with top management at DAFF within the next week or two.
As members are aware, we successfully obtained a court ruling overturning SAPA’s action aimed at setting aside brining caps as decided by DAFF.
This is a major victory and these caps will come into effect on 22nd October 2016. Well done to our very competent legal team, as well as Georg Southey who was very involved with them.
There is no doubt that our 5 years of campaigning against brining in the media raised the public profile on this issue and also played a major role in our success.