Despite continued U.S. government efforts to open South Africa to U.S. pork exports, the market remains closed. While key U.S. competitors such as Canada and the European Union (EU) have access to this important and growing market, the United States remains on the outside looking in. According to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), South Africa blocks U.S. pork exports based on non-science-based barriers, including ones related to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), pseudorabies (PRV) and trichinae.
The U.S. government and the U.S. pork industry have in recent years provided a wealth of information to the South African government demonstrating that U.S. pork is safe and poses a negligible risk of transmission of PRRS, PRV and trichinae.
South Africa is a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a preferential trade program that provides recipient countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with access to the U.S. market. AGOA expires in September 2015, and NPPC is opposed to including South Africa in any renewal of the program because of its de facto ban on U.S. pork. NPPC spearheaded a campaign along with a number of other agricultural groups expressing concern about the lack of reciprocal market access in South Africa in connection with AGOA.
The activities of the NPPC and the other groups has drawn the attention of South African Trade Minister Rob Davies who, while in Washington, D.C., for the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit this summer, recognized that the issue on U.S. pork market access “very strongly is linked to our continued presence in AGOA.”