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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 $16.1 billion in 2016. Exports were $7.5 billion; imports were $8.6 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with South Africa was $1.1 billion in 2016.

South Africa is currently our 39th largest goods trading partner with $11.4 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016. Goods exports totaled $4.6 billion; goods imports totaled $6.8 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $2.2 billion in 2016.

Trade in services with South Africa (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $4.7 billion in 2016. Services exports were $2.9 billion; services imports were $1.8 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with South Africa was $1.1 billion in 2016.

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 2016.

  • U.S. goods exports to South Africa in 2016 were $4.6 billion, down 15.6% ($852 million) from 2015 but up 3.2% from 2006.  

  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were: machinery ($904 million), vehicles ($446 million), electrical machinery ($365 million), aircraft ($334 million), and optical and medical instruments ($324 million).

  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to South Africa totaled $324 million in 2016. Leading domestic export categories include: wheat ($53 million), corn ($33 million), poultry meat & prods. (ex. eggs) ($26 million), planting seeds ($22 million), and tree nuts ($18 million).

  • U.S. exports of services to South Africa were an estimated $2.9 billion in 2016, 5.8% ($179 million) less than 2015, but 53.0% greater than 2006 levels.  Leading services exports from the U.S. to South Africa were in the intellectual property ( ), travel, and technical and other services sectors. 

Imports

  • South Africa was the United States' 36th largest supplier of goods imports in 2016.

  • U.S. goods imports from South Africa totaled $6.8 billion in 2016, down 7.5% ($550 million) from 2015, and down 9.8% from 2006.  

  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were: precious metal and stone ( ) ($2.2 billion), vehicles ($1.6 billion), iron and steel ($507 million), machinery ($454 million), and ores, slag, and ash ( ) ($296 million).

  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from South Africa totaled $270 million in 2016. Leading categories include: other fresh fruit ($59 million), tree nuts ($53 million), wine and beer ($47 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($24 million), and planting seeds ($14 million).

  • U.S. imports of services from South Africa were an estimated $1.8 billion in 2016, 12.9% ($208 million) more than 2015, and 34.5% greater than 2006 levels.  Leading services imports from South Africa to the U.S. were in the travel, transportation, and professional and management services sectors. 

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $2.2 billion in 2016, a 16.3% increase ($302 million) over 2015.

  • The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $1.1 billion with South Africa in 2016, down 26.6% from 2015. 

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Africa (stock) was $5.1 billion in 2016, a 5.2% decrease from 2015. U.S. direct investment in South Africa is led by manufacturing, prof., scientific, and tech. services, and wholesale trade.

  • South Africa's FDI in the United States (stock) was $3.1 billion in 2016, up 5.8% from 2015. South Africa's direct investment in the U.S. is led by wholesale trade, information services, and real estate.

  • Sales of services in South Africa by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $7.5 billion in 2014 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority South Africa-owned firms were $270 million.