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South Africa

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

In 2019, South Africa GDP was an estimated $358.8 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 0.2%; and the population was 59 million. (Source: IMF)

U.S. goods and services trade with South Africa totaled an estimated $17.8 billion in 2019. Exports were $8.0 billion; imports were $9.8 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with South Africa was $1.8 billion in 2019.

South Africa is currently our 39th largest goods trading partner with $13.2 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2019. Goods exports totaled $5.4 billion; goods imports totaled $7.8 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $2.4 billion in 2019.

Trade in services with South Africa (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $4.6 billion in 2019. Services exports were $2.6 billion; services imports were $2.0 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with South Africa was $648 million in 2019.

Exports

  • South Africa was the United States' 45th largest goods export market in 2019.
  • U.S. goods exports to South Africa in 2019 were $5.4 billion, down 2.9% ($162 million) from 2018 but up 20.6% from 2009. 
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: machinery ($1.0 billion), vehicles ($712 million), mineral fuels ($375 million), electrical machinery ($361 million), and aircraft ($310 million).
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to South Africa totaled $365 million in 2019. Leading domestic export categories include: poultry meat & products (ex. eggs) ($89 million), wheat ($33 million), planting seeds ($31 million), feeds & fodders not elsewhere specified or indicated ($28 million), and tree nuts ($24 million).
  • U.S. exports of services to South Africa were an estimated $2.6 billion in 2019, 2.4% ($61 million) more than 2018, and 6.0% greater than 2009 levels.  Leading services exports from the U.S. to South Africa were in the travel, intellectual property (industrial processes), and transport sectors.

Imports

  • South Africa was the United States' 35th largest supplier of goods imports in 2019.
  • U.S. goods imports from South Africa totaled $7.8 billion in 2019, down 7.9% ($666 million) from 2018, but up 32.7% from 2009. 
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: precious metal and stone (platinum) ($3.5 billion), iron and steel ($576 million), ores, slag, and ash (ashes and residues) ($524 million), vehicles ($435 million), and machinery ($414 million).
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from South Africa totaled $389 million in 2019. Leading categories include: tree nuts ($127 million), other fresh fruit ($60 million), wine and beer ($46 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($34 million), and essential oils ($16 million).
  • U.S. imports of services from South Africa were an estimated $2.0 billion in 2019, 4.4% ($84 million) more than 2018, and 32.5% greater than 2009 levels.  Leading services imports from South Africa to the U.S. were in the travel, professional and management services, and transport sectors.

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $2.4 billion in 2019, a 17.2% decrease ($504 million) over 2018.
  • The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $648 million with South Africa in 2019, down 3.4% from 2018.

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Africa (stock) was $7.8 billion in 2019, a 6.8% increase from 2018. U.S. direct investment in South Africa is led by manufacturing, finance and insurance, and wholesale trade.
  • South Africa's FDI in the United States (stock) was $4.1 billion in 2019, up 1.2% from 2018. There is no information on the distribution of  South Africa FDI in the U.S.
  • Sales of services in South Africa by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $6.8 billion in 2017 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority South Africa-owned firms were $97 million.