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United States and South Africa Hold High-Level Meeting on Trade and Investment Issues

Today Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis co-chaired a meeting with South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies of the U.S.-South Africa Trade and Investment Council (TIFA Council). U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips also participated.

Ambassador Marantis Leads the U.S.-South Africa TIFA Meeting
Ambassador Marantis Leads the U.S.-South Africa TIFA Meeting

At the TIFA Council senior government officials discussed a full range of trade issues. Among the issues include the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the President Obama’s National Export Initiative, trade barriers, investment challenges, intellectual property rights, transportation issues, and regional integration. Later, Ambassador Marantis and Minister Davies briefed U.S. and South African private sector representatives about the meeting and also discussed U.S.-South Africa bilateral trade and investment

“South Africa is one of our important trading partners in Africa and a leader in the region,” said Ambassador Marantis. “We are cooperating on many important trade and investment issues and are reinvigorating the U.S.-South Africa TIFA to expand our cooperation in those areas, promote job creation, enhance our two-way trade, and further grow our respective economies.”

The TIFA was signed on February 18, 1999. It established the TIFA Council as a high-level forum for discussions on trade and investment related-issues. The TIFA was active for a few years but was effectively put on hold, by mutual consent when the United States-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) free trade agreement negotiations began in 2003. The TIFA has been inactive since then. In 2010, both sides agreed to reinvigorate the existing TIFA to enhance cooperation and regularize engagement on key bilateral trade and investment issues.

Total two-way goods trade between South Africa and the United States was valued at $13.8 billion in 2010. U.S. exports to South Africa grew to $5.6 billion in 2010, up 26.4 percent from 2009. Primary exports included electrical machinery, vehicles and parts, and non-crude oil. U.S. imports from South Africa reached $8.2 billion in 2010, a 39 percent increase from 2009. Primary imports included precious stones and metals, vehicles and parts, and iron and steel. Of total U.S. imports from South Africa during 2010, $3.1 billion entered duty-free under AGOA and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), an increase from $2.4 billion in 2009. The primary goods imported under AGOA and GSP were vehicles and parts, iron and steel, and fruits and vegetables.