Import-export business Hume International has responded to claims that SA has enough capacity for French fries. In July, South Africa’s International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) imposed heavy new import tariffs on frozen chips from Belgium of up to 23.06 % and up to 104.52 % from the Netherlands. German suppliers have been hardest hit with new duties of 181.05 %.
According to Fred Hume, Managing Director of Hume International, however, local fry producers have been warning clients of impending shortages since May.
Hume notes that in many cases, clients are paying up to 50% more for frozen French fries from Europe to secure steady supply. “This is why we believe that there needs to be greater transparency and industry engagements in the decision-making process for tariffs, as there is a clear-cut case that anti-dumping duties are being calculated incorrectly in a grossly undersupplied market without consideration for all the facts.”
Hume continues: “In the short-term, we strongly feel that government should consider lifting its anti-dumping duties and engage more openly with importers and businesses to discuss constructive solutions to South Africa’s supply chain constraints. An ideal situation would actually be for us to have the majority of product supplied locally should the industry commit to urgently expanding its capacity over the next few years.”