The United States and South Africa are continuing to discuss market access for U.S. meat and poultry; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is continuing a review of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which benefits South Africa; and the National Pork Producers Council continues to urge the Obama administration to press the African nation to take U.S. pork exports.

U.S. and South African government officials have made some progress on resolving technical and sanitary issues related to U.S. meat and poultry exports.

On the USTR review of AGOA, NPPC in early August submitted comments on the trade preference program, urging the administration to withdraw or at least limit the trade benefits for South Africa because of that country’s reluctance to provide market access to U.S. pork.

South Africa gets duty-free access to the U.S. market for dozens of its products under both AGOA and the Generalized System of Preferences. But, noted NPPC in its comments to USTR, South Africa enforces “harsh and unjustifiable” import restrictions on U.S. pork to prevent diseases for which there is a negligible risk of transmission from U.S. pork products.

The South African Ministry of Agriculture, for example, imposes time and temperature requirements on U.S. pork as mitigation for trichinae, which is nearly non-existent in the U.S. commercial hog herd. The African country is maintaining trade barriers, said NPPC, despite overwhelming evidence that they are not supported by international standards or any legitimate scientific or World Trade Organization-legal justification.