TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

[PAPER]: Forging a new era in US-South African relations

Monday, 27 November 2017 Published: | Antony Carroll

Source: Atlantic Council

As one of the African continent’s largest and most sophisticated economies, South Africa offers a myriad of opportunities for engagement with the United States on diplomatic, commercial, security, and social fronts.

It is a self-sufficient, complex, and dynamic country in a struggling, complex, and dynamic region.

Yet, the centrality of South Africa to the United States’ relationship with the wider continent is underappreciated by Washington’s policy community, which has become distracted by the displays of dysfunctionality and high-level corruption that have come to characterize South African politics.

These political dramatics have knocked US relations with South Africa off track by obscuring the enduring social inequities at the heart of South Africa’s problems, both in media depictions of South Africa and in serious policy discussions.

As Anthony Carroll details in the Africa Center’s newest report, Forging a New Era in US-South African Relations, the United States has a significant stake in South Africa’s future.

The country has the potential to serve as a peacekeeper and economic flagship for the whole of Africa. Currently, it falls far short of this potential—but the upside trade and security benefits of an improved relationship between Washington and Pretoria are significant. At the same time, the downside risks of ignoring the relationship are severe: increased social unrest in South Africa would have disastrous consequences for the entire continent.

This report assesses the potential role of the United States in assuring South Africa’s passage through a difficult political and economic period, and recommends a new high-level effort to investigate progress on four tracks: trade liberalization, business-to-business relations, government-to-government relations, and university and think tank collaboration. 

South Africa is a strong and independent nation, and relations with the United States have been strained. The findings of this report suggest a need—on both sides—for a stronger and more vigorous relationship between Pretoria and Washington. 

Download the paper at the link alongside. 

 

Related News

[PAPER]: AGOA and the Continental Free Trade Area

[PAPER]: AGOA and the Continental Free Trade Area

This essay assesses and evaluates the extent to which the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) increased imports from AGOA eligible countries to the United States from 2001 to 2015. The essay then examines how African countries can make the most of the preferences granted under AGOA, arguing that AGOA national utilization strategies have proven successful. In the...

02 December, 2017
[PAPER]: Rethinking the AGOA model: How to create a pro-structural transformation of the US-Africa trade partnership

[PAPER]: Rethinking the AGOA model: How to create a pro-structural transformation of the US-Africa trade partnership

Seventeen years into the life of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), two key issues stand out: first, that the preference utilization rate—as indicated by the meagre increases in African exports to the United States—remains marginal; and second, that the AGOA initiative has not helped build diversified African economies. This reality in turn raises two...

27 November, 2017
US policy: Africa rising and the art of the deal

US policy: Africa rising and the art of the deal

Despite the controversy and political fallout surrounding the deaths of four special operations soldiers in Niger recently, it is clear that the Trump administration still has enough room to refocus on Africa among its foreign policy goals. Policies, personnel and priorities on Africa remain a work in progress. There is still a possibility to orientate its policies in a...

06 November, 2017
'Strict AGOA rules put African policies and trade on the line' - Columnist

'Strict AGOA rules put African policies and trade on the line' - Columnist

South Africa’s trade deal with the US, under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), may have its benefits, however, overall it is heavily skewed in favour of the US. South Africa’s strategy of pursuing a “developmental trade” policy, in which trade agreements with other countries should promote growth, employment and the industrial upgrade of the country,...

19 September, 2017
US poultry exporters struggle with South Africa's empowerment provisos

US poultry exporters struggle with South Africa's empowerment provisos

US producers undershot their AGOA quota in 2016-17, as they struggled to build relationships with SA importers, many of whom lack experience and finance.  US poultry producers nearly reached their full 65,000 ton quota of exports to SA under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in the year to end-March. However the start to the current year had been slow, the...

30 August, 2017