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South Africa worried about possible implications of Brexit on trade with EU

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The South African government has expressed great concern about the implications of Britain’s possible exit from the EU, the country’s largest investor and trading partner.

South Africa’s sugar and automotive trade with the 27 member states of the European Union is a matter of concern for the ruling African National Congress should Britain leave the union on Friday as scheduled, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has said.

Speaking during a manifesto briefing at the party’s headquarters in Johannesburg on Sunday, 7 April 2019, Davies said his ministry was “watching very closely” the processes and implications of Brexit as the EU remained the country’s largest trading partner and investor.

He said if the United Kingdom were to “crash out” of the EU without any agreement in place, the UN World Trade Organisation’s terms of trade would apply – which might affect duty on products like sugar and automotive vehicles imported by South Africa.

According to a document shared by the ANC at the briefing and read out by Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, the EU represented 77% of South Africa’s total foreign direct investment, the total trade from which amounts to more than US$45 billion.

In addition, over 2,000 companies from the EU operate in South Africa, creating more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs, Zulu added.

“South Africa has several bilateral agreements with most of the countries in the EU that have benefited our country. We note with concern the ongoing Brexit debate and hope that a resolution will be reached in this regard.

“As the ANC-led government, we will ensure that we nourish stable economic ties with all countries bilaterally and through various multilateral platforms,” Zulu said.



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