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Media Statements

South Africa and the United States Strengthens Bilateral Trade Relations

2015-04-19
 

South Africa and the United States have agreed to strengthen and deepen their bilateral trade and investment relations. This was agreed during the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting that was held in Washington, US. The Council was co-chaired by Minister Rob Davies and the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Ambassador Michael Froman. The two countries signed the revised TIFA in 2012 and it is a key platform to address issues of bilateral concerns and boost our bilateral trade and investment relations

South Africa and the US continue to enjoy cordial and growing trade and investment relationship. Minister Davies and Ambassador Froman had fruitful and constructive discussions on Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), outstanding market access issues and the investment climate, as well as issues on the multilateral trade agenda.

Amongst market access issues discussed, Minister Davies committed that South Africa will work towards concluding the poultry discussions soon. The same message was communicated in his meeting with Senators Chris Coons and Johnny Isakson. The proposed deal would see US chicken bone-in cuts exports being restored to their value prior to 2000 with a growth factor that takes into account current dynamics in the South African market. The outstanding issue is for the poultry associations from both sides to agree on the quantity of US chicken in which anti-dumping duties would be excluded. The Minister appealed to the US to engage its poultry industry to also show flexibility in the negotiations so that the outcome is reasonable and is a volume that both parties can leave with.

The South African and US poultry associations met earlier this week on the margins of International Egg and Poultry meetings in Europe. We expect the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) to table an improved offer that would likely lead to a deal being finalised. Both Minister Davies and Ambassador Froman agreed to continue to encourage their respective poultry industries to find the sweet spot. Minister Davies and Ambassador Froman committed to resolving other outstanding issues of concern from both sides in the shortest possible time.

The TIFA Council meeting also noted growth in investment relations and committed to work together in continuing to improve the business and investment climate in the two countries. The private sector associations from both South Africa and the United States following their roundtable engagement had an opportunity to present their outcomes to the TIFA meeting. South African business delegation led by the CEO of Business Unity South Africa, Ms Kanyisile Kweyama participated in the business roundtable. Scott Eisner, Vice President of US Chamber of Commerce and Stephan Hayes, President of Corporate Council on Africa led the US business delegation.

Following the conclusion of the TIFA Council meeting, later, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015 proposing reauthorisation of AGOA, including South Africa. It also proposes the extension of the third country fabric provision for 10 years.  The bill is not final as it still needs to be taken through Congress for approval and then signature by President Obama. The bill also introduced some conditionalities that, amongst others, would allow the United States to review the country’s eligibility at any time.

South Africa together with Sub-Saharan Africa countries will continue reaching out to members of congress for timely renewal of AGOA for all eligible countries,  including South Africa without any conditionalities.

Enquiries:
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
E-mail: MSMedupe@thedti.gov.za
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti