South Africa is concerned that trade protectionism is on the rise. This was said by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies at the 20th African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Ministerial Committee in Brussels, Belgium. Minister Davies said increasingly Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and standards are barriers to international trade and this affects especially small and medium enterprises.
In the bilateral meeting between Davies and European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Ms Cecilia Malmström earlier this week, the need to assist small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) to make use of the market openings created by the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was highlighted specially to enable them to meet the SPS and standards requirements to enter the EU market.
The EU has been negotiating EPAs with the ACP countries, in different regional configuration, since 2002. The SADC EPA, of which South Africa is part, is the first full EPA to be concluded and it provisionally entered into force on 10 October 2016. The SADC-EPA offered SA an opportunity to improve on the preferential market access previously offered under the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA).
The ACP Ministers will take part in the 15th Joint ACP-EU Ministerial Trade Committee (JMTC) meeting today. The ACP Ministers will raise amongst others, issues of protectionism, EPAs and Brexit state of play.
The ACP meeting also discussed the upcoming 11th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC11) that is scheduled to take place from 10-13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The meeting adopted an ACP Declaration that defines a common ACP position for the Group's participation at MC11. The ministers reiterated their commitment to the development mandate of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and the need to finish the outstanding work on the DDA, including on trade distorting domestic support measures for agriculture, cotton, public stockholding, fisheries subsidies, as well as Special and Differential treatment provisions.
Issued by: Department of Trade and Industry