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South Africa's Exports Remain Stable, Imports From The US Rise

Published date:
Tuesday, 20 September 2005

A look at the profile of South Africa’s trade with the United States shows that while total bilateral trade has increased this year compared to last year, this development is due only because of greater South African imports from the United States. South Africa’s aggregate exports over the first six months of the year remain virtually unchanged, even though there have been some sectoral fluctuations. For example, chemicals and related products have seen a surge in exports from South Africa of over 40%, while machinery exports have increased by over 50% (albeit off a much lower base).

Cause for concern perhaps from a South African perspective, however, are declining exports of energy related products (- 57%), textiles and apparel (- 32%) and the key manufacturing sector transportation equipment (- 44%). The value of goods exported duty-free under AGOA has declined slightly from USD 790mn to USD 760mn (out of a total of almost USD 3bn), although of this the proportion of non-GSP AGOA products has seen a much more significant decline (from USD 378mn to USD 243mn). This is due to substantially lower South African exports of transportation equipment, a sector that has over the past few years been one of the major beneficiaries of AGOA.

South Africa’s textile sector has also struggled to remain competitive in the face of surging US imports from China, following the phasing out of quotas. But recent safeguard measures applied by US authorities against China, in over 10 categories, may mean that Sub-Saharan African exporters may make up some of the shortfall as US retailers look to source elsewhere. AGOA has certainly mitigated the decline in South African garment exports to the US: in the 7 month period to July 2005, non-AGOA garment exports declined from USD 17mn in the comparable period last year to less than USD 4mn this year. Goods shipped under AGOA, and thus complying with AGOA’s stringent rules of origin requirements, fell from USD 64mn to USD 41mn over the same period.

“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of South Africa’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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