Country Information - South Africa
ECONOMIC BACKGROUNDSouth Africa is a middle-income, developing country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange that ranks among the 10 largest in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region.
However, growth has not been strong enough to cut into high unemployment, and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era, especially the problems of poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. Other problems are crime, corruption, and HIV/AIDS.
At the start of 2000, President Mbeki vowed to promote economic growth and foreign investment, and to reduce poverty by relaxing restrictive labor laws, stepping up the pace of privatisation, and cutting unneeded governmental spending. The economy slowed in 2001, largely the result of the slowing of the international economy. Since then, South Africa's economy enjoyed sustained growth backed by stable interest, inflation and exchange rates.
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BI-LATERAL TRADE OVERVIEWSouth Africa is one of the United States' leading trading partners in Africa, and accounts for the most diverse trade flows. Total trade between the two countries has been increasing steadily in recent years, with South Africa holding an increasing trade surplus since 1999. This amounted to $ 3,3 billion in 2006.
U.S. exports to South Africa far exceed US exports to any other country from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), emphasising the importance of the latter’s access to the South African market. In terms of SSA exports to the United States, South Africa's exports rank second after those of Nigeria, with Gabon’s exports being in third position. However, the latter two countries' AGOA exports consist mainly of energy-related products (mostly oil), whereas South Africa's AGOA exports were highly diversified.
Exports qualifying under AGOA amounted to $ 1,8 billion in 2006 (2005: $ 1,5 billion), although this figure includes exports under the GSP program, of which AGOA is essentially an extension (see link to Country Trade Profile below). Exports of products that were added under AGOA amounted to $ 717 million in 2006 (2005: $ 455 million). Of South Africa’s exports of textiles and apparel to the US in 2006 ($ 47 million), $ 42 million were AGOA-eligible items. South Africa does not benefit from the 3rd country provisions, and is required to source local or regional fabric made from African or US yarn.
According to full year 2006 data, key exports sectors under AGOA were ‘chemicals and related’, ‘minerals and metals’, ‘transportation equipment’ and ‘agricultural products’ (See link to detailed trade profile below).
Detailed bilateral trade data for this country, disaggregated by industry sector, can be accessed by following the link below. Aggregate data featuring all AGOA-eligible countries is updated on this website as soon as new data is published, including ranked AGOA / non-AGOA trade, aggregate trade by industry sector as well as the latest apparel trade data.
Click here for Detailed Trade Profile
21 AGOA FORUM 2013: Ethiopia will host the 2013 US-Africa AGOA Forum. AGOA.info has been informed that the Forum will not take place as envisaged on 28 June - 1 July, but at a later date yet to be determined. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Trade and Technology for sustained change”“
21 December 2012: Guinea-Bissau and Mali lose AGOA eligibility
APRIL 2013: Monthly data has been updated to include February 2013 data, quarterly includes full year 2012 data.
New US strategy towards Africa: White House Factsheet on new strategy towards Africa, plus overview of past US engagement with Africa. Click here for the file and this link for a summary article.
02 August 2012: Bill to extend third country fabric provision passes Congress Download the House of Reps. Bill at this link
South Sudan declared AGOA-eligible on 26 March 2012. Earlier, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger and Gambia declared AGOA eligible on 25 October 2011. See news item, presidential declaration and trade overview at this link (S Sudan) and here (others).
US GSP extended and GSP benefits to be applied retrospectively for the year 2011 since expiry of previous GSP. See AGOA.info legal documents section at the following link.
AGOA at 10: Reflections on US-Africa trade with a focus on SACU: Tralac Working Paper that can be downloaded at this
December 2010: The Democratic Republic of Congo loses its AGOA eligibility status. See proclamation here (pdf download available at this link
ITC investigation of textiles and apparel: Further details at this link
AGOA IV – Changes to AGOA explained
For disaggregated trade data covering each AGOA country, follow the relevant link in the Country Sections (left column) or click here.
For detailed AGOA maps click here