• South Africa is fighting to retain duty-free access to exports
  • U.S. farmers want South Africa to remove trade barriers

South Africa will probably retain duty-free access for exports to the U.S. worth as much as $1.7 billion a year under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies said in an interview, citing a letter he received from the U.S. trade representative.

“I am confident that we are on track to keep us in AGOA,” Davies said on Saturday. “The issues that are going to be central to their decisions on the outer-cycle review are related to the three meats. These were about the importation of 65,000 tons of poultry, the regulations on pork and on beef.”

The U.S. is reviewing South Africa’s status as a full beneficiary of a preferential trade pact that eliminates import levies on more than 7,000 products ranging from textiles to manufactured items. AGOA, as the accord is known, was renewed in June for another 10 years, benefiting 39 African nations.

To remain a beneficiary of AGOA, countries are required to, among other things, eliminate barriers to U.S. trade and investment, operate a market-based economy, protect workers’ rights and implement economic policies to reduce poverty.

U.S. trade officials have threatened to withdraw support for South African funding applications to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank if certain clauses outlined in a proposed security industry regulation bill aren’t reviewed.

“The security bill was not mentioned in that context in the letter from the U.S. trade representative,” Davies said.

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