According to SAnews.gov.za South Africa and the United Kingdom have committed to strengthening ties amid preparations by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU).
In a joint statement by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, both countries have committed to working together to identify trade and investment opportunities that will not only benefit the two countries but the wider Southern Africa and Africa region.
The commitment between the two countries is the result of a meeting held between Minister Davies and the UK Secretary of State on Tuesday.
Bilateral trade in goods and services between the UK and South Africa stood at £7.6 billion in 2015, with UK exports of goods and services increasing by 25% in the last decade.
South Africa’s exports into the UK have increased by over 5% on an annual basis for the last decade. South Africa is the third biggest trading partner for the UK in the Commonwealth. The meeting was an opportunity for Ministers to discuss existing links as well as opportunities to further develop these.
“The UK is a historical and strategic trade and investment partner for South Africa and remains a key market for especially agriculture exports accounting for over 20% of SA’s exports of wine and 30% of fruit exports globally,” said Minister Davies.
The UK is the biggest destination in the EU for South African investment, accounting for 30% of South African investments into Europe. Furthermore, 46% of South Africa’s global investment originates from the UK.
“We must ensure that we have a predictable trade and investment environment for mutual benefit for both parties. As we work to achieve this, South Africa looks forward to discussing how our trade post-Brexit could build on the recently concluded Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU,” said Minister Davies who was on a two-day trip to the UK that began on Monday.
Meanwhile, the UK views South Africa as a key trading partner and as a strong and strategic ally for the UK in Africa and internationally.
“It is our largest export market in Africa; the largest economy in the southern Africa region and a fellow G20 member. South Africa is also the largest recipient of UK foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa accounting for 30% of total UK FDI in, a value of £13.1 billion.
“As we become an even more outward looking country, we will continue building on our relationship with South Africa and today’s meeting was an opportunity to discuss how we progress that,” said the UK Secretary of State.
The meeting was a continuation of the on-going high-level engagement between the United Kingdom and South Africa to discuss trade and economic relations and follows the recent visit of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to South Africa in December 2016.