South Africa agreed in June to open the doors to U.S. chicken products but an Oct. 15 deadline to seal the terms and conditions passed without an announcement that exports would resume.
The United States has been reviewing South Africa's eligibility for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) due in part to concerns about duties on poultry. Losing access to AGOA could see South Africa lose as much as $1.7 billion of exports a year.
"Last week, South Africa missed the first of several benchmarks that we jointly agreed to in order to resolve certain longstanding barriers to trade and investment in the agriculture sector," a USTR spokesman said in an emailed statement.
"We have to complete a review of South Africa's compliance and, if it is not meeting the eligibility requirements under AGOA, we must take action."