You are here

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

U.S. goods and services trade with South Africa totaled an estimated $18.9 billion in 2018. Exports were $8.4 billion; imports were $10.5 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with South Africa was $2.1 billion in 2018.

South Africa is currently our 38th largest goods trading partner with $14.0 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018. Goods exports totaled $5.5 billion; goods imports totaled $8.5 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $3.0 billion in 2018.

Trade in services with South Africa (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $4.9 billion in 2018. Services exports were $2.9 billion; services imports were $2.0 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with South Africa was $887 million in 2018.

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 2018.
     
  • U.S. goods exports to South Africa in 2018 were $5.5 billion, up 9.9% ($497 million) from 2017 but down 15.0% from 2008. 
     
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: machinery ($1.2 billion), vehicles ($692 million), mineral fuels ($459 million), electrical machinery ($365 million), and aircraft ($334 million).
     
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to South Africa totaled $325 million in 2018. Leading domestic export categories include: poultry meat & prods. (ex. eggs) ($94 million), planting seeds ($26 million), other feeds & fodders ($18 million), tree nuts ($18 million), and beef & beef products ($14 million).
     
  • U.S. exports of services to South Africa were an estimated $2.9 billion in 2018, 1.3% ($37 million) more than 2017, and 29.4% greater than 2008 levels. 

Imports

  • South Africa was the United States' 36th largest supplier of goods imports in 2018.
     
  • U.S. goods imports from South Africa totaled $8.5 billion in 2018, up 9.4% ($727 million) from 2017, but down 14.9% from 2008. 
     
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: precious metal and stone (platinum) ($3.8 billion), iron and steel ($752 million), vehicles ($553 million), aluminum ($480 million), and ores, slag, and ash (ash and resudues) ($475 million).
     
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from South Africa totaled $364 million in 2018. Leading categories include: tree nuts ($80 million), other fresh fruit ($71 million), wine and beer ($51 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($43 million), and essential oils ($19 million).
     
  • U.S. imports of services from South Africa were an estimated $2.0 billion in 2018, 6.3% ($120 million) more than 2017, and 16.1% greater than 2008 levels. 

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Africa was $3.0 billion in 2018, a 8.4% increase ($230 million) over 2017.
     
  • The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $887 million with South Africa in 2018, down 8.6% from 2017.

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 $6.3 billion in 2016 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority South Africa-owned firms were $499 million.