Cabinet approves quantitative restrictions on milk imports

06 Aug 2013 07:10
WINDHOEK, 06 AUG (NAMPA) - Cabinet has in principle granted approval to the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to proceed with the instituting of interim quantitative restrictions on the import of dairy products.
A media release issued by Cabinet Chambers after its 10th ordinary meeting on 02 July this year indicated that the short-term relief sought by the local dairy sector is to be instituted in terms of the relevant provisions of the Import-Export Act (Act No. 30 of 1994). It is however envisaged that a permanent control measure will be instituted through an amendment to the Meat Industry Act, 1981 (Act No. 12), and appropriate action is underway in this regard.
“Cabinet has granted approval in principle to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to proceed to institute interim quantitative restrictions on imports of fresh, extended shelf life (ESL), Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk, buttermilk, curdled, yoghurt and other fermented milk through the introduction of an import permit system to be administered by the Meat Board of Namibia,” it stated.
Government, through the MTI, earlier this year received a submission from the Dairy Producers Association (DPA) of Namibia claiming unfair competition from imports mainly from South Africa.
In its submission, the local dairy industry requested Government to come to the rescue of the industry by instituting urgent interim measures to restrict the quantity of milk products being imported into the country.
The dairy industry reported then that the Namibian market for fresh milk, ESL and UHT is characterised by significant disturbances, namely a surplus of imported milk, which is threatening the survival of the local milk producing farmers and dairy producers.
It is alleged that South African producers are aggressively off-loading surpluses of milk into the Namibian market at very low or discounted prices.
However, the measure is not intended to serve as a total ban of imports, but only to control and limit the quantity thereof.
The continuation of imports will ensure competitive prices for consumers. It will also enable the government to effectively monitor and take corrective action against the import surges of such products in the domestic market.
About possible arbitrary increases in the prices of dairy products as a result of the import restrictions put in place, Cabinet emphasised that the beneficiary producers will be required to make an undertaking to refrain from instituting any price increases without prior notification and justification to the government and its assigned implementing agency, the Meat Board of Namibia.
To enable Government to exercise its import and price monitoring function, the operators in the industry benefiting from quantitative restrictions will be obliged to submit such information as required for such monitoring purposes.
“Furthermore, Government through the MTI reserves the right to undertake periodic reviews of the impact and effectiveness of the import restriction measure, and could amend or revoke the quantitative restrictions or take other administrative measures to restore the initial or desired market conditions in case of identified unjustifiable end-user price escalations or non-compliance with any of the conditions on which the protection has been granted,” it added.