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S. Africa resumes wool exports to China

By Ndumiso Mlilo in Johannesburg, South Africa | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-08-26 15:53

South Africa has resumed wool exports to China following its suspension in April after the outbreak of foot-and-mouth in South Africa.

According to the South African government, the country produces over 42 million kilograms of wool from 8,000 commercial sheep farmers. The Chinese export is vital for South Africa with an additional 40,000 communal smallholder farmers who contribute 14 percent of the total wool exports. The export to China was temporarily suspended in April this year following foot-and-mouth outbreaks in the country. The South African authorities have been engaging with Chinese authorities to resume trade in wool.

"We welcome the decision by the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China to lift the ban on the wool and other cloven-hoofed animals' skin products imported from South Africa as announced today (Wednesday)," said Thoko Didiza, South African minister for agriculture, land reform and rural development.

She said following the temporary suspension of the exports, the farmers lost over $43 million and the continued suspension could have had a devastating effect. Didiza said the early lifting of the suspension prevented the South African farmers from incurring losses for two seasons.

Ebrahim Patel, South Africa's minister of trade industry and competition, welcomed the resumption of the export of wool to China.

He said, "The engagements with the People's Republic of China have been conducted in a positive manner and the coordinated efforts by different parts of the South African government greatly assisted."

The Agri SA and the National Wool Growers' Association of South Africa also issued a statement on Wednesday welcoming the opening of the exports of wool to China. The statement by the two organizations welcomed the resumption of the exports saying, "… (We) are relieved to learn that the South African government has secured the agreement of the government of China to lift the ban on South African wool exports. This is an example of what can be achieved through effective partnership between industry and government."

South Africa exports wines, ores, iron and steel, wood pulp, copper and fruit and nuts. South African farmers are recovering from the effects of COVID-19. The National Wool Growers' Association of South Africa said the resumption of exports to China would also assist the Chinese farmers who are also recovering from drought.

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