WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and a co-founder of the Senate Chicken Caucus, raised concerns during today’s Foreign Relations Committee nominations hearing about the export of U.S. poultry to South Africa. The line of questioning was directed at Lana Marks, nominee to serve as U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, during a hearing to fill five State Department positions in Africa.

 

Video and audio available here

 

Excerpts from the hearing are below:

Sen. Coons: “During the reauthorization of AGOA, I worked closely with my friend and colleague Senator Isakson to eliminate longstanding barriers to the export of U.S. poultry in the South African market. Today, poultry producers in my home state of Delaware as well many other states are now benefiting from a quota of U.S. poultry into South Africa that are excluded from an anti-dumping tariff, and South Africa is now one of the top ten export markets for U.S. poultry. But there are some recent tensions -- understandable discomfort or unhappiness -- on the part of South Africans with the steel and aluminum tariffs that were applied by the Administration, as well as pressure from domestic producers in South Africa. How will you work to sustain this critical market opportunity? I heard your passion for keeping markets open. Will you focus on this one in particular?"

 

Ms. Marks: “Senator Coons, thank you for this very important question. I followed your trip recently when you went to the South African Constitution[al Court], by the way. I have been following the poultry exports and your interest and Senator Isakson's. If confirmed, I will ensure South Africa continues to fulfill this very important quota and if there are any problems or any rumblings, I will immediately address those if confirmed, and I would very much appreciate if I could engage with you going forward and Senator Isakson on this matter and, if possible, come and visit in Delaware to have an even greater understanding of this, if confirmed.”

 

###