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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


Free trade versus tariffs
The debate over the future trajectory of South Africa’s economic policy is about much more than the powers of Trevor Manuel and the planning ministry.
S.Africa, EU sign trade deal, to bridge Doha gaps
South Africa and the European Union on Friday signed an amended trade, development and co-operation agreement and also pledged to intensify work to bridge gaps preventing conclusion of Doha trade talks.
Thailand presses SA for free trade deal
Thailand is eager to engage SA on a fully fledged free trade agreement (FTA) with the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).
Zim balks from treaty with SA
A bilateral investment treaty between Zimbabwe and South Africa could not be signed last week after Harare requested more details on the accord before it could commit itself, Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said.
Kenya-S.Africa to enhance trade relations
There is need to address the prevailing trade imbalance between Kenya and South Africa in order to enhance trade relations between the two countries Trade Permanent Secretary Dr (Eng) Cyrus Njiru has said.
SA farm, fish sectors face EU exports
Several hundred product lines, mostly in the agricultural, agro-processing and fishing sectors in South Africa, may face increased competition from the European Union.
SA, India in preferential trade talks
South Africa has started talks on a preferential trade agreement with India. The trade and industry department last week gazetted the launch of the trade talks for November, urging industry to make inputs in the compilation of the list of goods of export interest to SA.
SA-EU Trade Row Puts Customs Union At Risk
The future of the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) hangs in the balance, even as engagement takes place at the highest political level to save the world’s oldest customs union from collapsing.
South Africa: trade talks
South Africa has been negotiating a slew of bilateral trade agreements for a long time. Yet we don’t seem to be able to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on any of these.
The official line - India
In the last decade or so, India and South Africa have signed about 35 sectoral bilateral agreements. They are right now concluding a bilateral investment protection agreement and negotiating a preferential trade agreement.