The International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) in South Africa has
instituted a safeguard duty of 27% on lysine after protests against the 160%
duty that was previously imposed in May.
De Wet Boshoff, general manager of South Africa's Animal Feed Manufacturers
Association, said the finding at least brought certainty to feedstock producers
who used the product, but other questions about the process remained. In May,
Itac imposed a 160% provisional safeguard duty on all imports of lysine, after a
complaint by South African Bioproducts, the sole producer of the product in the
Southern African Customs Union.
Itac's did not
provide reasons for this massive duty and handling of the investigation was
marred by irregular procedures. Moreover, the body failed to give interested
parties an opportunity to comment on and respond to the application before
reaching its decision. As a result feedstock producers in SA paid the highest
price for lysine in the world.
The trade body's most controversial
action, however, which drew litigation, was the decision to impose a safeguard duty
against all countries from which the product was imported into SA. Bioproducts'
application referred only to injury at the hand of cheap Chinese imports.
According to Itac's own documentation Chinese imports in five years time
increased from a meagre 2.2 tonnes to 2,400 tonnes last year.
Chinese imports had gained a massive 57% chunk of the South
African import market, way before the US, with a 21% share of total imports.
Itac's finding was challenged by German lysine producer Degussa. The court found
that Itac had contravened the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) rules. Itac had
failed to give importers the opportunity to make representations, it had also
not informed the WTO or its trade partners of the implementation of the measure.
Ignored court ruling
Itac essentially ignored the court's
order to reverse the safeguard measure for months. However, without giving
reasons or releasing a report, in mid-September it announced in the Government
Gazette that the safeguard duty would be reduced from 160% to 27%. The duty will
remain at 27% until May 10, 2008, when it will be reduced to 18% and then
decline to 9% from May 11, 2009 lasting until April 11, 2010.
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