Working Papers

A Hollowing Out: Disjunctive Policy in South Africa and Implications for the Trade Agenda

A Hollowing Out: Disjunctive Policy in South Africa and Implications for the Trade Agenda

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27 Oct 2016

Author(s): Tania Gill

South Africa’s approach to the future of trade negotiations can be expected to be informed by leading documents such as the National Development Plan (NDP) and recent Industrial Policy Action Plans (IPAPs). However, the apparently disjunctive nature of the NDP in particular casts a long shadow of unclearness over what direction trade development should be moving and raises concern over the feasibility of directly mentioned strategies.

This working paper seeks to act as a discussion document on the dichotomous policy discourse in South Africa and the possible implications for trade strategies. Though the issues raised in this paper are applicable to South Africa’s trade strategy in general, particular focus will be placed on trade with Africa.

Developing countries are struggling to maintain competitiveness in their exports while simultaneously struggling to compete against imports. Africa is certainly no exception in this regard, and the failure of Africa to become industrially competitive implies that African countries continue to lag behind both their developing counterparts and the developed world. This failure has encouraged ideals of becoming competitive by moving up the value chain. Trade in services is thus becoming increasingly important on the African trade agenda but, the nature, limitations and implications of such trade are not clearly addressed.

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