South Africa agreed recently to lower barriers to imports of U.S. poultry, removing a potential obstacle to congressional renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act or South Africa’s continued eligibility for AGOA benefits.

After two days of talks in Paris, the two sides agreed on a framework that will allow up to 65,000 metric tons of U.S. bone-in chicken to be imported into South Africa without being hit with the 100 percent antidumping duty that has been in effect since 2000. However, South Africa’s most-favored-nation duty rate of 37 percent will still be imposed on these shipments. The quota could be increased in later years if the South African market expands.

The agreement is expected to take effect in four to six months, after the South African government engages in public consultations and meets other administrative requirements, and a joint statement said both sides “are committed to expedite processes and resume shipments of U.S. chicken as quickly as possible.” They also agreed to a set of actions to resolve remaining sanitary issues related to poultry, pork and beef by the end of June.

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