SA labour protests trade ban threat by US
By DION HENDRICK & SAVIOUS KWINIKA in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) THE Congress of South African Trades Union (COSATU) has opposed plans by the United States to bar some imports from South Africa if the latter did not lift a ban of meat products from the United States.
A protest is planned for Tuesday in Cape Town.
COSATU’s Western Cape Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, said United States President Barack Obama’s threat to bar South Africa’s oranges, nuts and wine from entering his country were “unacceptable” and “unfair.”
“The Obama administration expects us, to allow old meat into our country that does not meet the required standards. This blatant attempt at extortion will result in the loss of many jobs in South Africa, across many sectors that presently benefit from AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act),” Ehrenreich said.
He said COSATU would call on the Government to review the entire trade regime with the USA, should the powerhouse continue with its threats that he said undermined the diplomatic efforts underway.
“The Unions in COSATU that are affected by the trade sanctions will also be present at the press conference. COSATU will be addressing the end of year function of its Senior Citizens at the Amphitheatre in the Waterfront and will make the statement in that public meeting,” Ehrenreich said.
Obama gave Pretoria 60 days to remove barriers to US farm produce or face sanctions following developments that South Africa banned from its country the US poultry imports last December after an outbreak of bird flu.
If the ban is effected, South Africa will lose some $250 million (about R3,425 billion) from exports to the US.
– CAJ News
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