Market access

Trade relations (agreements)

The Department of Trade and Industry, seeks to build mutually beneficial regional and global relations to advance South Africa´s trade, industrial policy and economic development objectives. 

 Export-driven growth

The South African economy is integrated into the global economy. Export orientation now extends beyond the mining and mineral sectors. A number of manufacturing sectors are also tapping into on global demand as markets for their products.

South Africa’s global market access is enhanced through a number of trade agreements.

Southern African Customs Union (SACU)

Established in 1910, this is the oldest functioning customs union in the world. Countries involved are South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia. SACU members jointly negotiate preferential trade agreements with third parties. SACU members have also agreed to a programme that encourages intra-regional trade and regional value chain development.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Area

There are 15 member states in the SADC. Market integration is accompanied by cross-border infrastructural development and sector co-operation that aims to build and diversify the region’s production structures. 

SADC-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement

The SADC-EU EPA group comprises South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique. The agreement provides new and improved market access to the European Union.

 Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

AGOA offers preferential access to the United States market.

Membership of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa)

Other BRICS member states are important destinations for South African exports, collectively accounting for more than 15% of South Africa’s exports. The BRICS Business Council fosters cooperation between the five countries in different sectors and assists in promoting trade.

Trade negotiations

• WTO’s Doha Development Agenda – South Africa is a negotiator
• SACU-India Preferential Trade Agreement
• SADC-EAC-COMESA Tripartite Free Trade Agreement
• Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement
(TIDCA) SACU-US Cooperative framework agreement
• Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) SACU-US
Bilateral agreement

Preferential market access agreements

• Southern African Customs Union (SACU)
• Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade
Agreement (FTA)
• European Union/South Africa Trade, Development and
Cooperation Agreement (EU/SA TDCA)
• SACU-European Free-Trade Association (EFTA) FTA
• SACU-Southern Common Market (Mercosur) Preferential
Trade Agreement (PTA)
• Bilateral agreements with Mozambique and Zimbabwe
(limited scope)

Non-reciprocal agreements

• Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
• Generalised System of Preferences – South African products
qualify for preferential market access (i.e. no or substantially
reduced customs duty) under the GSPs.