South Africa under GSP country review: what implications for preferential exports to the United States?
On 25 March 2019, the United States Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued a notice through the Federal Register on its annual Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) product and country review. This is a relatively routine review process relating to the country’s nonreciprocal trade preference scheme(s).
Exactly seven months later, on 25 October 2019, the USTR announced GSP “enforcement action” relating to seven countries, including South Africa, having accepted a petition by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) regarding South Africa’s ongoing compliance with the GSP eligibility criteria. A subsequent Federal Register notice on 19 November sets out some of the more detailed timelines around this process as it pertains to South Africa’s case.
What is at stake for South Africa’s trade under GSP and AGOA? Developments in South Africa (and any action taken by the IIPA or the US) might impact, influence, or indeed form some kind of persuasive precedent for what might or might not follow in other African markets later.