In order to deepen the United States-South Africa trade and investment relationship, the US Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk and South Africa’s Minister of Trade Rob Davies have signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA), amending the one signed in 1999.
The TIFA also provides a forum to address trade issues. "This amended agreement will provide a forum to better exchange views on improving the trade and investment climate and promoting new US investment that is critical to South Africa’s economic development,” said Kirk.
"It will not only help to increase and diversify trade between the US and South Africa,” he added, "but it will also provide for a regular dialogue on the full spectrum of trade and investment topics.”
Total two-way trade between South Africa and the US was valued at USD22bn last year. US exports to South Africa grew to USD7.3bn, up 29.5% from 2010, and included machinery, vehicles, mineral fuel, and electrical machinery. On the other hand, US imports from South Africa reached USD9.5bn in 2011, a 15.7% increase over the previous year. Primary imports included vehicles, machinery, iron, steel, platinum and diamonds.
In 2011, USD4.6bn of US imports from South Africa entered duty-free under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), an increase from USD1.5bn in 2010. The primary goods imported under AGOA were mineral fuel, machinery, vehicles and parts, iron and steel, and fruits and vegetables.
After the signing, Davies and the Deputy USTR Demetrios Marantis co-chaired the first TIFA Council meeting under the new agreement. The meeting examined the two governments’ work together on a number of trade and investment-related issues, including tariffs, the business and regulatory environment, implementation of AGOA, export diversification, energy, trade facilitation, and enhancing the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in trade and investment.