South Africa, US deepen trade ties

26 June 2012

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has welcomed the revived economic ties between South Africa and the US, after Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk signed a trade and investment framework agreement last week.

“Busa also supports other agreements and programmes that seek to expand trade and investment between South Africa and the United States,” the organisation said in a statement on Friday. “These include the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).”

The latest agreement amends a similar agreement signed in 1999 and seeks to deepen the US-South Africa trade and investment relationship.

It also provides for an annual forum that will address specific business challenges and will help enhance the trade and investment relationship between the two countries.

South Africa-US dialogue

Following last week’s signing, Davies and assistant US trade representative for Africa Florie Liser held a South Africa-US dialogue with South African and US businesses, with members of Busa, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Council on Africa taking part.

“It emerged from the meeting that the US did not want to sit by while other regions were taking advantage of mutual commercial opportunities in Africa as well as in South Africa,” Busa said.

“Areas of cooperation in the [agreement] were outlined as anti-dumping, phytosanitary standards, investment, energy and infrastructure.”

SA’s third-largest trading partner

According to Busa, the US is South Africa’s third-largest single country trading partner, with total two-way trade between the two countries valued at US$22-billion in 2011.

“South African exports to the US reached $9.5-billion in 2011, a 15.7 percent increase from 2010,” the organisation said.

“Last year, $4.6-billion worth of South African products entered the US market duty- free under AGOA, an increase from $1.5-billion in 2010.”

SAinfo reporter