Price of potato chips expected to return to normal

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PHOTO: iStock

Potato chips – or French fries as the rest of the world calls them – are expected to return to normal pricing soon, offering a sense of relief of consumers.

According to Hume International, a frozen foods export and import company based in South Africa, the anti-dumping tariffs that the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) placed on countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium  for a period of six months since July last year, have now been lifted.

ITAC had until Saturday, 14 January the option of updating and reinstituting the tariff, but instead allowed it to expire.

Fred Hume, Managing Director of Hume International, explained that this meant that local importers like Hume can now claim refunds for any duties paid since.

Small victory
“The news comes as a small but much-needed reprieve for the food industry during a period marred by continued global supply chain disruptions, rising animal feed costs, record high fuel prices impacting transportation costs, and increased load-shedding, which may soon lead to shortages of certain local food products.

“We need to do everything in our power to bring prices down, which includes doing away with unnecessarily heavy duties. Competition is integral to an economy’s ongoing welfare, and our food industry benefits greatly from global trade which serves to fill shortages in the market and keep prices stable,” he said.

“The simple fact of the matter is that while the local industry produces sufficient amounts of potatoes to meet consumer demand, the same cannot be said for the specific variant used to make French fries, and hence our reliance on imports,” he added.

Imports of French fries had decreased by a third since before Covid-19, due to the high import tariffs placed on the three major trading partners, Hume also explained.

“We are not out of the woods just yet – in fact, not even close to it. This is but one small victory in the ongoing fight against rampant food price inflation, and if the average South African is to survive the year, we need to implement more substantial measures,” he concluded.

The Citizen