Skip to Content

South Africa

South Africa Flag

AGOA Status: South Africa is eligible for AGOA this year. It also qualifies for textile and apparel benefits.

Trade Agreements: The U.S. and South Africa signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2012, which amends the United States-South Africa TIFA originally signed in 1999. The most recent meeting of the United States-South Africa Council on Trade and Investment was held in June 2012 in Washington D.C. See the press release for more information.

In addition, the U.S. and the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), which includes South Africa, signed a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement (TIDCA) in 2008. The TIDCA establishes a forum for consultative discussions, cooperative work, and possible agreements on a wide range of trade issues, with a special focus on customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, and trade and investment promotion.

U.S.-South Africa Trade Facts

U.S. goods and services trade with South Africa totaled $21 billion in 2012 (latest data available). Exports totaled $10 billion; Imports totaled $11 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with South Africa was $0.3 billion in 2012.

South Africa is currently our 38th largest goods trading partner with $15.8 billion in total (two ways) goods trade during 2013. Goods exports totaled $7.3 billion; Goods imports totaled $8.5 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $1.2 billion in 2013.

Trade in services with South Africa (exports and imports) totaled $4.6 billion in 2012 (latest data available). Services exports were $2.7 billion; Services imports were $1.9 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with South Africa was $770 million in 2012.

Exports

South Africa was the United States' 36th largest goods export market in 2013.

U.S. goods exports to South Africa in 2013 were $7.3 billion, down 3.4% ($259 million) from 2012, but up 159% from 2003.   

The top export categories (2-digit HS) for 2013 were: Machinery ($1.6 billion), Precious Stones (gold) ($1.1 billion), Vehicles ($1.0 billion), Electrical Machinery ($418 million), and Optic and Medical Instruments ($362 million).

U.S. exports of agricultural products to South Africa totaled $295 million in 2013. Leading categories includes: dairy products ($28 million), wheat ($25 million), planting seeds ($24 million), and poultry meat ($24 million).

U.S. exports of private commercial services* (i.e., excluding military and government) to South Africa were $2.7 billion in 2012 (latest data available), 1.8% ($50 million) less than 2011 but 115% greater than 2002 levels. Other private services (business, professional, and technical services), and royalties and license fees (computer software and industrial processes) categories accounted for most of U.S. services exports to South Africa.

Imports

South Africa was the United States' 39th largest supplier of goods imports in 2013.

U.S. goods imports from South Africa totaled $8.5 billion in 2013, a 2.2% decrease ($193 million) from 2012, but up 83% from 2003.    

The five largest import categories in 2013 were: Precious Stones (platinum and diamonds) ($2.6 billion), Vehicles (cars) ($2.3 billion), Iron and Steel ($696 million), Ores, Slag, Ash ($577 million), and Machinery ($404 million).

U.S. imports of agricultural products from South Africa totaled $253 million in 2013.  Leading categories include: wine and beer ($69 million), fresh fruit ($59 million), and tree nuts ($42 million).

U.S. imports of private commercial services* (i.e., excluding military and government) were $1.9 billion in 2012 (latest data available), up 5.8 ($107 million) from 2011, and up 157% from 2002 level. Travel and the other private services (business, professional, and technical services) categories accounted for most of U.S. services imports from South Africa.

Trade Balance

The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $1.2 billion in 2013, a 5.9% increase ($66 million) over 2012. 

The United States had a services trade surplus of $770 million with South Africa in 2012 (latest data available), down 16.9% from 2011.

Investment

U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Africa (stock) was $5.5 billion in 2012 (latest data available), a 5.6% decrease from 2011.

Reported U.S. direct investment in South Africa was led by the manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors.

South Africa FDI in the United States (stock) was $1.5 billion in 2012 (latest data available), up 55.4% from 2011.

South Africa FDI distribution in the United States was not available in 2012.

Sales of services in South Africa by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $5.1 billion in 2011 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority South African-owned firms were $315 million. 


*NOTE: Refers to private services trade not including U.S. military sales, direct defense expenditures, and other miscellaneous U.S. government services.

5/7/14