South Africa’s Trade Performance for January to November 2018
Despite being one of the biggest economies on the African Continent, South Africa is confronted with high levels of poverty, income inequality and high unemployment, which have undermined the sustainability of public finances and narrowed the scope for economic transformation. The weak recovery in the global economy has also presented major challenges that could adversely affect South Africa’s economic performance through trade, investment, and remittances. Sluggish growth in the United States, broad implications of Brexit, and weak European Union (EU) performance could hurt South Africa’s growth. This could also be exacerbated the strengthening of the South African Rand, which would further undermine South Africa’s export competitiveness and add strain on its current account balance.
A strong and sustained growth projection is required to create jobs, build an inclusive and transformed economy and reduce inequality. In terms of trade policy, South Africa's economic strategy for Africa is premised on the Development Integration approach. The initiative focuses on advancing South Africa’s priorities as set out in the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) and the National Export Strategy, as well as the opportunities envisioned under the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). South Africa also established an initiative within the Department of Trade and Industry – Trade Invest Africa – which aims to contribute to increasing the levels of intra-Africa trade by facilitating South Africa's exports of value-added goods and services, while creating sourcing relationships for imports from other African markets.
This working paper looks at South Africa’s trading relationships with select trading partners including those within Africa, and in particular, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Southern African Customs Union (SACU); the EU and more specifically the United Kingdom (UK); the US as well as Brazil, Russia, India and China (under the BRICS banner). The paper also looks at tariff and trade remedy investigations in 2017/2018 undertaken by the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) of South Africa.
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