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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


New law to deal with compensating foreign investors for expropriation
One of the most contentious issues dealt with in a draft new Foreign Investment Bill, which the South African Department of Trade and Industry will present to an interministerial committee in the next few months, will deal with how the South African government will compensate foreign investors in the event of expropriation, deputy director-general of international trade Xavier Carim said on Friday.
South Africa: BITs in pieces
South Africa has terminated a bilateral investment treaty with Belgium and Luxembourg in the first of a series of planned shreddings of post apartheid-era agreements which are coming up for renewal.
SADC free trade agreement coming soon: Davies
An agreement to lower barriers to trade and improve cross-border commerce in the SADC should be implemented this year, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says.
SA to stay away from bilateral treaties: Davies
South Africa will avoid entering into bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in future, except where there are compelling economic and political circumstances, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Thursday.
Davies says intra-African trade is key to SA growth
Strengthening bilateral trade and investment relations with African countries was a key trade and economic strategy for South Africa, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies told the sixth Africa Economic Forum in Cape Town this week.
SA rejects Turkey’s proposal for a free trade agreement
South Africa has rejected Turkey’s proposal for a free trade agreement between the two countries saying that this would encourage "destructive competition that will undermine our industrial and employment objectives".
Tough talk over industrialisation expected for FTA - Davies
As South Africa moves to bolster industrialisation efforts within its own borders, the planned roll out of a giant free trade area across Africa may hit a snag when it comes to negotiating about trade in manufactured goods between member countries, the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said yesterday.
SA and the EU trade negotiations - A step closer
In negotiations to forge an economic partnership agreement (EPA), the EU has agreed to improve market access for about 80% of the agricultural products South Africa has asked to be accepted. However, the EU has yet to budge on wine, sugar and starch.
US, South Africa relaunch bilateral TIFA
The Deputy US Trade Representative, Demetrios Marantis, has co-chaired a recent meeting with the SA Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, of the US-South Africa Trade and Investment Council (TIFA Council), at which there was a re-launched discussion of a full range of trade issues.
Doha failure could spark regionalism
South Africa is considering bilateral trade agreements with Japan, Turkey and New Zealand, but a preferential trade agreement with India, currently under negotiation, is enjoying priority, said Brendan Vickers, a chief director at the department of trade and industry.