South Africa’s export market faces a major threat as the United States of America moves to suspend trade benefits of all SA agricultural products.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said he was concerned about the impact of revoking South Africa’s status under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The AGOA trade programme makes it easier for African countries to export to the US. Benefits include duty-free market access.
“This is a major threat to export growth and to jobs in the affected industries. Last year, under the AGOA programme, the Western Cape exported R1.47 billion to the United States. Of this, wine and citrus exports amounted to R719 million. In addition, the wine industry employs just over 289 000 people in the country and 167 000 in the Western Cape. If we do not find an urgent resolution, these jobs will be on the line.”
The Western Cape Government has written to the National Ministers of Trade and Industry as well as Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on the matter.
Minister Winde added that studies have found that growth in exports had a significant impact on job creation.
“Research has found only a five percent increase in the value of deciduous fruit and table grapes exports will create 4 261 and 2 073 new jobs respectively. The same research showed that a five percent increase in wine exports will lead to 986 new jobs, and two thirds of these jobs will be off farm.
To make this a reality, we need to radically ease market access. If we want to remain globally competitive, we have to put smart agreements in place with our trading partners.”
For media queries, kindly contact:
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Western Cape Government
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301