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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. 

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 an estimated $17.5 billion in 2017. Exports were $7.9 billion; imports were $9.7 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with South Africa was $1.8 billion in 2017.

South Africa is currently our 38th largest goods trading partner with $12.8 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2017. Goods exports totaled $5.0 billion; goods imports totaled $7.7 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $2.7 billion in 2017.

Trade in services with South Africa (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $4.8 billion in 2017. Services exports were $2.9 billion; services imports were $1.9 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with South Africa was $970 million in 2017.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of Goods and Services to South Africa supported an estimated 46 thousand jobs in 2015 (latest data available) (26 thousand supported by goods exports and 20 thousand supported by services exports).

Exports

  • South Africa was the United States' 42nd largest goods export market in 2017.

  • U.S. goods exports to South Africa in 2017 were $5.0 billion, up 9.2% ($423 million) from 2016 but down 9.1% from 2007.  

  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2017 were: machinery ($1.1 billion), vehicles ($551 million), electrical machinery ($351 million), mineral fuels ($298 million), and aircraft ($290 million).

  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to South Africa totaled $370 million in 2017. Leading domestic export categories include: poultry meat & prods. (ex. eggs) ($91 million), corn ($39 million), planting seeds ($24 million), wheat ($23 million), and tree nuts ($19 million).

  • U.S. exports of services to South Africa were an estimated $2.9 billion in 2017, 1.4% ($40 million) less than 2016, but 31.4% greater than 2007 levels. 

Imports

  • South Africa was the United States' 35th largest supplier of goods imports in 2017.

  • U.S. goods imports from South Africa totaled $7.7 billion in 2017, up 14.4% ($977 million) from 2016, but down 14.5% from 2007.  

  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2017 were: precious metal and stone (platinum) ($2.9 billion), vehicles ($1.1 billion), iron and steel ($922 million), machinery ($367 million), and ores, slag, and ash (non iron ash) ($359 million).

  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from South Africa totaled $326 million in 2017. Leading categories include: other fresh fruit ($62 million), tree nuts ($57 million), wine and beer ($54 million), raw beet & cane sugar ($35 million), and processed fruit & vegetables ($29 million).

  • U.S. imports of services from South Africa were an estimated $1.9 billion in 2017, 3.5% ($65 million) more than 2016, and 43.5% greater than 2007 levels. 

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $2.7 billion in 2017, a 25.6% increase ($555 million) over 2016.

  • The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $970 million with South Africa in 2017, down 9.3% from 2016. 

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Africa (stock) was $7.3 billion in 2017, a 10.1% increase from 2016. U.S. direct investment in South Africa is led by manufacturing, professional, scientific, and technical services, and wholesale trade.

  • South Africa's FDI in the United States (stock) was $4.1 billion in 2017, up 37.9% from 2016. South Africa's direct investment in the U.S. is led by wholesale trade, information services, and information services.

  • Sales of services in South Africa by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $6.9 billion in 2015 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority South Africa-owned firms were $498 million.