US, South Africa step up trade relationship
The United States and South Africa are stepping up their trade and investment relationship by vowing to open up a dialogue and remove hurdles.
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and South Africa Minister of Trade Rob Davies have signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which amends the TIFA signed in 1999, to better address and deepen the trade and investment relations between the two countries.
"This amended agreement will provide a forum to better exchange views on improving the trade and investment climate and promoting new U.S. investment that is critical to South Africa's economic development," Kirk said in a statement.
"It will not only help to increase and diversify trade between the U.S. and South Africa, but it will also provide for a regular dialogue on the full spectrum of trade and investment topics," he said.
Two-way trade between South Africa and the United States was valued at $22 billion last year, according to USTR.
U.S. exports to South Africa grew to $7.3 billion last year, up 29.5 percent from 2010. Primary exports include machinery, vehicles, precious stones (gold), mineral fuel and electrical machinery.
U.S. imports from South Africa reached $9.5 billion in 2011, a 15.7 percent increase from 2010. Leading imports include vehicles, machinery, iron, steel, platinum, diamonds, ores, slag and ash.
Last year, $4.6 billion of U.S. imports from South Africa entered duty-free under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), an increase from $1.5 billion in 2010.
The primary goods imported under AGOA were mineral fuel, machinery, vehicles and parts, iron and steel and fruits and vegetables.
Under the updated agreement, the United States-South Africa Council on Trade and Investment will meet annually.