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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
Photo: Maersk/CC BY-SA 2.0

Development Through Trade
Indian interest in the South African economy is growing apace. Planned investments by Indian companies in SA over the coming years reportedly add up to billions of rands.
Malawi-South Africa agreement "will attract investors"
The Malawian government is optimistic that its new economic and technical cooperation agreement with South Africa will finally draw investors from its mighty neighbour.
South Africa: EU agreement has "not been beneficial"
A senior member of parliament of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Ben Turok, says the existing trade agreement between South Africa and the European Union (EU) has not benefited his country.
SA, Singapore eye free-trade agreement
Singaporean President Sellapan Ramanathan again pushed for a free-trade agreement between his country and South Africa during discussions with President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria on Thursday.
SA, EU hope to finalise partnership action plan during German presidency
Despite the unpopularity of the single-country partnership proposal, it is being pursued primarily based on Europe’s analysis of South Africa as the “locomotive” of Africa economic development and integration.
SA fends off EU deals for SACU partners
South Africa is resisting European Union (EU) efforts to treat it differently from its southern African neighbours — a move which could result in the country getting less market access for its exports.
SA, EU Consolidate Cooperation
The European Union (EU) and South Africa have agreed to start negotiations for a comprehensive update and revision of the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA).
Kiwi economist points to free trade option for South Africa
A former chief economist in New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says South Africa should consider joining a Free Trade Agreement that exists between Singapore, New Zealand, Chile and Brunei (P4).
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.