09 Oct 2014 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 09 OCT (NAMPA) Government will provide the necessary support and protection to local agro-processors and manufactures against foreign importers, the Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein says.
He made the pledge during the opening of the Agricultural Outlook Conference 2014 on Wednesday.
Here I want to mention the role of infant industry protection and import restrictions as one of the interventions that we as government have used to support an emerging industry. In all but one instance thus far in Namibia, agro-processing industries have been the beneficiaries of infant industry protection.
We get challenged by the importers of foreign goods when we take such action, but we are determined to lend the maximum extent of support to domestic agro-processors and manufacturers as the law allow us to do, said the minister.
A High Court judgment delivered on 15 August this year set aside restrictions on the importation of milk products into Namibia.
The judgment was in favour of Clover Industries Limited which was not happy with the Namibian governments restriction on the import of dairy products.
The import restrictions were intended to provide protection to Namibias dairy industry, which found itself struggling to compete against, especially, South African dairy products sold at lower prices in the Namibian market.
Meanwhile, no date has been set yet for the hearing of the main case, in which the South African Poultry Association and poultry exporters such as Crown Chickens, Supreme Poultry, Rainbow Farms, Astral Foods, and Afgri Poultry are asking the High Court to review and set aside the import restrictions on poultry products announced by the Namibian Government and gazetted on 05 April 2013.
Schlettwein made reference to the existing programmes in the Ministry of Trade and Industry which are geared at removing supply-side constraints, increase productive capacity, and improve the competiveness of Namibian industry in the domestic, regional and international markets.
In a situation where our market is open and where well established foreign products are well entrenched, we have no option rather than to use such measures to create development space for our own companies, he explained.