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South Africa

South Africa signed an important FTA with the European Union back in 1999. That deal not only had lasting impacts on South Africa itself, but it set the stage for a stronger drive from the EU (and from EFTA) to get African nations to sign on to deeper liberalisation of trade and investment policies in the following decade, especially through the EU-ACP EPA negotiating process.

South Africa is member of the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) which has been negotiating an FTA with the US since many years. In 2006, SACU signed an FTA with Mercosur. In 2007, they sealed a deal with EFTA.

On its own, South Africa has a bilateral FTA with SADC (Southern Africa Development Cooperation). It also has preferential agreements with Malawi, Zimbabwe and Croatia plus a non-reciprocal trade arrangement with Mozambique. At present, it is considering further bilateral deals with Kenya, Nigeria, China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and India. In late 2011, it rejected a proposal from Turkey for an FTA claiming this would bring about destructive competition which would undermine South Africa’s industrial and employment objectives.

South Africa is also part of IBSA, the India-Brazil-SA triangle that is hoping to forge a trilateral South-South FTA.

last update: May 2012


South Africa: Trade Beat
After a lull in the first half of the year, there appears to be movement on various fronts of SA’s trade agenda.
A common thread of cynicism
After numerous stakeholder inquiries and intense media commentary, government has finally revealed how it intends to effect the textile and clothing agreement concluded with China in June.
Mugabe delays signing investor law
The future of South African investment in mining and precious metals still hangs in the balance as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has delayed signing laws that will protect the business interests of investors.
Singapore, SA closer to Free Trade Agreement
The first step has been taken to establish a Free Trade Agreement between Singapore and South Africa.
South Africa: Opportunities abound as world woos Africa
Washington recently played host to the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) forum, an annual event mandated by the Agoa legislation which brings together stakeholders from Africa and the US.
Doha lull ‘gives SA time to finalise policy’
The stalled Doha negotiations would give SA a valuable opportunity to strengthen technical consultation and tighten relations in the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) before the trade talks were resumed, SA’s chief trade negotiator, Xavier Carim, said yesterday.
Singapore, SA closer to Free Trade Agreement
The first step has been taken to establish a Free Trade Agreement between Singapore and South Africa. Justice MPH Rubin, Singapore’s High Commissioner, is in Tshwane to facilitate the process.
Jury still out on costs and benefits of SA trade deal with China, amid fears of severe job losses
A free trade agreement with China would have a drastically negative effect on the clothing and footwear sectors in South Africa - but the overall economic effect would be positive, says one of the first of a series of studies.
South Africa: Engaging China
This week’s visit by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to seven African countries, including SA, is a highly strategic one.
Cosatu warns of job losses on SA-China trade deal
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has warned government that thousands of textile workers, especially women, will soon join the unemployment queue.