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South Africa

South Africa

South Africa's trade relations and development co-operation with the European Union are governed by the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement.

The Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement has established a free trade area that covers 90% of bilateral trade between the EU and South Africa.

The liberalisation schedules were completed by 2012.

Trade picture

  • South Africa is the EU's largest trading partner in Africa. A member of the African Caribbean Pacific group of countries, South Africa is by far the strongest of sub-Saharan Africa's economies.
  • South Africa's exports to the EU are growing and the composition of these exports is becoming more diverse. South Africa is gradually moving from mainly commodity-based products to a more diversified export profile that includes manufactured products.
  • South Africa's primary exports to the EU are fuels and mining products, machinery and transport equipment, and other semi-manufactured goods.
  • EU exports to South Africa are dominated by machinery and transport equipment, chemicals  and other semi-machinery.

EU-South Africa "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2011-2013, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2011 21.8 26.2 4.5
2012 20.5 25.6 5.1
2013 15.5 24.5 8.9

EU-South Africa "trade in services" statistics

Trade in services 2010-2012, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2010 4.7 7.1 2.3
2011 4.4 7.3 2.9
2012 4.6 7.8 3.3

Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2012, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2012 9.1 58.2 49.1

More statistics on South Africa

EU and South Africa

South Africa's trade relations with the EU are governed by the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement concluded with the EU in 1999.

South Africa, while part of the African Caribbean Pacific group of countries, is not party to the same preferential trade arrangements granted to the African Caribbean Pacific countries under the Cotonou Agreement.

South Africa joined the Economic Partnership Agreement (the trade pillar of the Cotonou agreement) negotiations as part of the Southern African Development Community Group in February 2007.

Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique had signed an interim or "stepping stone" Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU in 2009. And Namibia had initialed an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU in 2007. However, the interim agreement has not been ratified yet.

Instead, negotiations focus on reaching a comprehensive agreement with the whole SADC EPA Group including South Africa.

South Africa is an emerging economy. Large parts of the population live in poverty. The EU is by far South Africa’s most important development partner, providing for 70% of all external assistance funds.

Trading with South Africa