Letter: Lowering state-imposed tariffs on trade can help our economy grow - Sowetan

20 April 2022 - In the context of rising global inflation, sticky supply chains, the war in Ukraine and higher fuel prices, poor-to-middle income South African consumers are battered from all sides.

In the context of rising global inflation, sticky supply chains, the war in Ukraine and higher fuel prices, poor-to-middle income South African consumers are battered from all sides.

While the government cannot control global events, it can make the policy choices that would at least provide consumers some breathing room, and, further down the line, encourage real economic activity. Lowering government-imposed tariffs would be one way of easing the flow of goods and services, bringing down operational costs and decreasing an inflation pressure point.

The South African Association of Meat Importers and Exporters has called for the urgent removal of trade tariffs on all poultry products, and a three-year moratorium on new tariffs. 

If implemented, the benefits for consumers would go well beyond the immediate term. Instead of focusing on unrealistic Localisation Master Plans, removing tariffs would be the most effective path to stimulating growth.

Tariffs serve to distort organic market signals of supply and demand.

As more countries head out of the Covid19 pandemic, those adopting a more open trade footing will witness greater benefits in terms of economic activity and growth.

Chris Hattingh, Institute of Race Relations

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