SA seeks post-Brexit trade deal with UK
Linda Ensor | 2017-01-25 15:51:34.0
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Photo file.
Image by: RUBEN SPRICH
SA and the UK would explore opportunities to strengthen trade ties ahead of the UK leaving the European Union (EU)‚ Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and UK secretary for international trade Liam Fox said in a joint statement Wednesday.
The statement followed a meeting on Tuesday at which Davies sought to get the commitment of the UK to working on a post-Brexit trade deal as soon as possible.
Currently SA’s trade with the UK falls under the economic partnership agreement between the Southern African Customs Union (plus Mozambique) and the European Union. When the UK leaves the EU‚ it will have to negotiate its own trade agreements with SA and other countries.
Both ministers committed to strengthening ties as the UK prepares to leave the European Union and to work together to identify trade and investment opportunities that will benefit not only the UK and South Africa‚ but Southern Africa and Africa as a whole.
Davies said SA and the UK had to ensure that they had “a predictable trade and investment environment for mutual benefit for both parties” post Brexit while Fox said SA was a key trading partner to the UK as well as “a long-standing‚ strong and strategic ally for the United Kingdom in Africa and internationally”.
“It is our largest export market in Africa; the largest economy in the southern Africa region and a fellow G20 member. South Africa is also the largest recipient of UK foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa accounting for 30% of total UK FDI in 2014‚ a value of £13.1 billion. As we become an even more outward looking country‚ we will continue building on our relationship with South Africa and today’s meeting was an opportunity to discuss how we progress that‚” Fox said.
The UK is also a strategic trade and investment partner for South Africa and remains a key market for especially agriculture exports accounting for over 20% of SA’s exports of wine and 30% of fruit exports globally. The UK is the biggest destination in the EU for South African investment‚ accounting for 30% of SA investments into Europe and 46% of SA’s global investment originates from the UK.”
Bilateral trade in goods and services between the UK and South Africa stood at £7.6 billion in 2015‚ with UK exports of goods and services increasing by 25% in the last decade. South Africa’s exports into the UK have increased by over 5% on an annual basis for the last decade. South Africa is the third biggest trading partner for the UK in the Commonwealth. The meeting was an opportunity for ministers to discuss existing links as well as opportunities to further develop these.
– TMG Digital/BusinessLIVE