South Africans on a Mission in Washington to Safeguard Trade Benefits

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read

The 15th U.S.-Africa Business Summit concludes on Friday, July 14th, in Gaborone, Botswana, drawing attention to the notable absence of South African representatives, a significant partner in the region. Only Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, was in attendance, while other government officials were on a mission in Washington.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, his counterpart from the Ministry of Finance, and the Minister in the Presidency embarked on a visit to the United States to safeguard South Africa’s trade advantages. The delegation, comprising representatives from trade unions and business circles, had the opportunity to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Wednesday. The U.S. Congress is expected to review the eligibility of countries for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in the coming weeks. AGOA provides trade benefits to African nations.

Pretoria, scheduled to host the AGOA Summit this year, faces scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers from both parties who expressed concerns in a letter last month regarding South Africa’s alleged proximity to Russia. Proponents of its exclusion also point out that the country’s status as an intermediate-income nation may impact its eligibility for AGOA benefits.

Several South African trade unions, particularly in the agriculture and automobile sectors, have expressed apprehension as South Africa is one of the countries that benefit the most from AGOA. In 2021 alone, it facilitated exports worth nearly 2.5 billion euros to the United States.

Soukaina Sghir

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