Anti-dumping tariffs lapse on French fry imports

The anti-dumping tariffs on French fries placed on three European countries by the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) have lapsed.

In July 2022, Itac – the organisation responsible for customs tariff investigations, trade remedies, and import and export controls – placed anti-dumping tariffs as high as 181.05% on Germany, 104.52% on the Netherlands, and 23.06% on Belgium for a period of six months.

Itac had until Saturday, 14 January to update the French fry tariff, but allowed it to expire. This lapse means that local importers can now claim refunds for any duties paid since.

Hume International, a major importer of frozen food in South Africa, describes the development as “a small but much-needed reprieve for the food industry” during a period marred by continued global supply chain disruptions, rising animal feed costs, record-high fuel prices impacting transportation costs, and increased load shedding, which it says may soon lead to shortages of certain local food products.

Low-income South Africans have been hit the hardest by skyrocketing prices. Households are currently spending on average 13.5% or some R580 more on food per month than a year ago, according to the latest Household Affordability Index for December 2022. This is especially concerning considering that an estimated 55% of South Africans live below the upper-bound poverty line and cannot afford any increase in expenses.

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