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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


Friend and foe
China is muscling its way not only into the global economy but also into Africa, a world that SA companies might have thought was their oyster after the walls of apartheid came down a decade ago.
SA wary of calls to broaden EU trade pact
SA’s chief trade negotiator, Xavier Carim, said yesterday that it was premature for the European Union (EU) to call for a large-scale expansion of the free trade agreement between the 25-nation bloc and SA.
EU-SA free trade agreement stalls
The free trade agreement reached between South Africa and the EU on automotive products in November last year has run into trouble and has not been implemented.
South Africa: trade beat
Trade talks appear to have picked up pace in the latter part of the year. SA has another free-trade deal in the bag and talks with the US are scheduled to resume after a year-long stall.
SA signs free trade pacts in Middle East
South African exporters will now have more access to Kuwait’s market after trade and industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa yesterday signed a free trade agreement with the oil-rich Middle East country. The deal with Kuwait was concluded a day after Mpahlwa signed a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), also an oil producer.
Japan, SAfrica agree to study launching free trade agreement talks - report
Japan and South Africa have agreed to examine the feasibility of striking a free trade agreement, Kyodo News reported, citing sources in the trade ministry here.
SA to push for agreement to protect assets in Zimbabwe
South Africa is set to push once more for the signing of an investment protection agreement with Zimbabwe as President Robert Mugabe starts implementing threats to abolish private ownership of land.
Singapore, SA eye trade pact
Singapore and South Africa have agreed to begin free trade talks later this year, as the wealthy city-state seeks to expand its economic access to African states.
Free trade with China is key
Economic diplomacy was "a central pivot" around which the South African Foreign Affairs department was anchoring its efforts to address poverty and underdevelopment in South Africa and the continent, deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said on Friday.
Bush on top means continuity in South Africa-US relations
America will continue to enter into bilaterals with states it views strategically.