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South Africa Plugs Tripartite FTA

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

26 August 2011


In the opinion of South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe, the recent agreement to launch talks to establish a tripartite free trade agreement (FTA) between the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community has made it more urgent to promote intra-African trade.

In a speech to the recent South Africa-Ghana Business Forum, held in Cape Town, Thabethe stated that, as the tripartite FTA centres on creating Africa's biggest free trade bloc, intra-African trade should be at the top of the economic agenda.

It has been said that a combined FTA would create a larger regional market of 26 countries with a combined gross domestic product of over USD830bn and 530m people. However, according to the African Development Bank, trade between African countries still remains low, making up just 10% of the continent's total trade, compared with North America where intra-continental trade makes up 40% or Western Europe where such trade makes up 60%.

“Strengthening trade and investment links with the continent is a key policy priority of the (South African) government, both to benefit our economy and more importantly those of our partners on the continent. Most African countries are endowed with tremendous natural resources and thus have the potential to develop into modern industrialized states that can compete on the world stage,” she added.

During the Forum, businesses from the two countries were encouraged to take advantage of trade and investment opportunities. In that respect, the South African Department of Trade and Industry, through Trade and Investment South Africa, signed a memorandum of understanding on investment and trade with the Ghanaian Investment Authority.

It was reported that bilateral trade between the two countries has been growing steadily over the past few years, with the latest available annual trade statistics for 2010 indicating South African exports to Ghana of just over ZAR2.5bn (USD345m) and imports from Ghana of more than ZAR84m.

TAGS: South Africa | tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | Djibouti | Eritrea | Mauritius | Swaziland | Zimbabwe | law | Angola | Comoros | Ethiopia | Lesotho | Libya | Madagascar | Malawi | Mozambique | Sudan | agreements | Botswana | Congo, Democratic Republic of the | Egypt | Kenya | Namibia | Rwanda | Uganda | Zambia | trade | Burundi | Ghana | Seychelles | Tanzania | Africa

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