TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

SA President Mbeki arrives in Washington for Talks with US President Bush

Friday, 08 December 2006


South African President Thabo Mbeki has arrived in Washington for talks with his US counterpart George W Bush to discuss, among other things, bilateral political and economic relations.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said in Pretoria that Mbeki and Bush would meet at the White House today.

"The meeting is important because it will afford the presidents an opportunity to review decisions taken at their last meeting last year," Pahad said.

Some of the issues discussed at the previous meeting included conflict resolution and peacekeeping in Africa, global trade negotiations, support for the NEPAD (New Plan for African Development), aid for developing countries and international backing for Africa`s fight against HIV/AIDS.

"The meeting will also provide President Mbeki and President Bush a chance to work out what needs to be done to further consolidate bilateral relations between South Africa and the US," said Pahad.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss South Africa`s role in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) when it assumes its non-permanent member seat on January 1 next year, and the situation in the Middle East.

Mbeki will also meet with the leadership of the US democratic party, which won majority seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

"The meeting with the democratic party leaders will allow President Mbeki to get a sense of their thinking about developments in Africa and elsewhere," said Pahad.

Pahad pointed out that economic relationship between South Africa and the US remained intact and that total trade between the two was reaching R60 billion (South African currency) and is expected to increase by approximately 11 per cent a year.

He said South Africa was the biggest beneficiary of the US` African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which significantly liberalises trade between the US and 37 designated sub-Saharan African countries.

The AGOA builds on existing us trade programmes by expanding the (duty-free) benefits previously available only under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme.

AGOA originally covered the eight-year period from October 2000 to September 2008, but amendments signed into law by President Bush in July 2004 further extend AGOA to 2015.

“ 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.