20 September 2017

South Africa: SA, UK Recommit to Enhance Trade Post Brexit

South Africa and the United Kingdom have recommitted to enhance trade ahead of the UK leaving the European Union.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, held a bilateral meeting on Tuesday in Tshwane.

"Both Ministers recommitted themselves to a seamless post Brexit in terms of trade and technical work will be intensified to ensure that the interim arrangements will be finalised before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in 2019," said the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

The meeting also committed to further developing mutually beneficial trade and investment relations.

The United Kingdom remains a key investment partner for South Africa in terms of the total inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows received from the rest of the world. The UK has invested in 333 FDI projects in South Africa, with direct capital investment estimated at about R159.01 billion over the period of 2003 to May 2017.

"The UK has been a significant trading partner of SA over the past years and ranks as South Africa's seventh largest export partner in the world and second largest export partner in the European Union region. There is a need to discuss an arrangement on technical issues in order to ensure smooth trade post Brexit," said Minister Davies.

The two leaders' meeting was a continuation of the ongoing high level engagement between South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The Ministers' meeting follows the Southern African Customs Union's Trade Ministers' meeting with the United Kingdom in July, where parties agreed that their trade relations should not be disrupted due to the Brexit process.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) -- the UK's export credit agency -- has made additional funds available for UK companies exporting to South Africa and for South African buyers of UK goods and services to bolster trade between the two countries after Brexit.

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