SOUTH AFRICA LOBBIES TO KEEP PREFERENTIAL ACCESS TO US MARKETS
A South African government delegation will embark on a charm offensive in the US in a bid to defuse tensions with the African nation’s second-biggest trading partner over foreign policy and retain its preferential access to American markets as well as for South Africa to retain its eligibility to export goods duty free to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.(AGOA).
South Africa has maintained what it terms a non-aligned position towards the invasion, which has irked Washington. Several US lawmakers have called on President Biden to reconsider whether South Africa should continue to benefit from AGOA. Besides being angered over South Africa’s foreign policy stance, some legislators argue that Africa’s most industrialised nation is too developed to participate in the programme.
There is no officially expressed view that seeks to exclude South Africa from AGOA however, despite US politicians lobbying for our exclusion. AGOA expires in 2025 and US officials have previously said the qualifying criteria may be revised or the program may be replaced.
South African ships cars and agricultural products to the US under this agreement and in 2022 exported $2.7 billion worth of goods using AGOA and the so-called Generalised System of Preferences.
South Africa’s exclusion or if access is revoked will have a devasting impact on the economy with the vehicle manufacturing industry. among those that would be badly affected. 112 000 jobs in the automotive sector and 435 billion ($23 billion) in automotive trade could be wiped out.
South Africans need to realise that our country’s jobs and the security of our economy are intrinsically linked to trade founded on global alliances. – Bloomberg