SOUTH AFRICA – South African exporter, Venco Food Processors, is on the US radar accused of allegedly dumping lemon juice in the abroad market.
According to reports by Money Web, US based Ventura Coastal LLC filed a petition in regards to the matter at the end of December.
Hannes de Waal, chairperson of Venco Food Processors, said, “We received notice early in January and the team said the process had formally started just before the end of December.
“We are still investigating what was alleged at this time, and the process that we are involved in with the American trade authorities is to co-operate.”
The South African (SA) lemon juice industry is now at risk of paying anti-dumping tariffs if investigations, which are being conducted in the US, show that SA is dumping cheaper lemon juice that unfairly benefits from higher profit margins compared to their US counterparts.
In his defence De Waal said, “It seems to us that the cost at which we’ve been able to sell was substantially lower than the US cost.
“However, those are the same prices that we use to sell all over the world. We sell a lot of juice in Europe at those prices, and we also sell quite a bit of juice today in SA at those prices. If we look at the tariff that is being quoted, 128%, that means they want us to sell at double-plus.”
The US lemon juice import market is about US$130 million served by Argentina, Mexico, Italy, Brazil and Spain, who are the major competitors for South Africa.
According to De Waal, the company will lobby the industry to contest the complaint, since the local lemon industry is expanding rapidly, and access is needed to all market channels which SA can export to globally.
Although the lemon juice export market in the US is an attractive opportunity, it still makes up a small section of SA’s lemon export market as the country focuses on shipping the fresh fruits.
According to a recent GAIN report by USDA, South Africa’s exports of lemons and limes is forecast to increase by 4 percent to 510,000 MT in MY 2021/22, from 490,000 MT in MY 2020/21, based on the increase in local production, and growth in demand from the Middle East and Asian markets.
The EU remains the main export market for South African lemons and limes, accounting for 42 percent of the total exports.
During the period under review, local production of lemons/limes is forecast to increase by 4 percent to 650,000 MT from 625,000 MT in the previous corresponding period.
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