Southern African countries reach agreement with Britain

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Wine and fruits make up the biggest portion of exports from South Africa to UK. PHOTO | REUTERS
Wine and fruits make up the biggest portion of exports from South Africa to UK. PHOTO | REUTERS

South Africa and five other Southern African countries have concluded a new trade agreement with Britain, said the government official on Wednesday.

The South African Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel said they, together with Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique, made the deal with Britain. The new agreement will govern the bilateral trading relationship between the six countries and Britain after the UK leaves the EU without an agreement or “no-deal Brexit”.

Patel said South African government have been engaging Britain in the past two years after they announced that they will leave EU to avoid the disruption to the country’s exports.

“I am pleased that we have concluded this agreement with the United Kingdom,” he said.

The new agreement will replicate the terms of previous trade on tariffs, quotas, rules of origin and health and safety regulations.

“We are pleased that regardless of the outcomes of these processes, our trading relationship with the United Kingdom can continue without disruption. This is important for the thousands of South African workers whose jobs are dependent on this trade and for the investors who have utilized South Africa as an export base to Britain and the rest of the world,” said Patel.

In 2018, Britain was the fourth largest destination for South African exports, with bilateral trade between the two countries amounting to more than 9.3 billion U.S. dollars.

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