Washington, D.C. – Today, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and South Africa Minister of Trade Rob Davies signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Today’s Agreement amends the TIFA signed in 1999 in order to deepen the U.S.-South Africa trade and investment relationship. The TIFA also provides a forum to address trade issues and will help enhance 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,” said Ambassador Kirk. “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.”
Total two-way trade between South Africa and the United States was valued at $22 billion in 2011. America’s exports to South Africa grew to $7.3 billion in 2011, 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. Primary imports include vehicles, machinery, iron, steel, platinum, diamonds, ores, slag, and ash. Last year, $4.6 billion worth 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.
After the signing, Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and Minister Davies co-chaired the first TIFA Council meeting under the new agreement. The meeting examined the two governments’ work together on a number of trade and investment-related issues, including tariffs, the business and regulatory environment, implementation of AGOA, export diversification, energy, trade facilitation, and enhancing the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in trade and investment.
The United States-South Africa Council on Trade and Investment will meet annually under the TIFA to establish an ongoing dialogue, which will help increase commercial and investment opportunities by identifying and working toward removal of impediments to trade flows.