South Africa's trade policy provides the key principles for its global integration strategy with respect to engagements at regional, bilateral and multilateral levels. It is designed to define the contribution that trade policy can make to the country's broad economic development and how it will support the National Industrial Policy Framework.
Since becoming a democracy, South Africa has opened up its economy on various levels and liberalised its trade regime substantially. It has also normalised its trade environment by removing the dual exchange rate and opening up its capital account. The country became a founding member of the World Trade Organisation in 1995; negotiated bilateral agreements with the EU, Mercosur and the European Free Trade Association; and committed to some unilateral liberalisation
South Africa is strategically aligning itself to partner with important emerging economies. It is doing this both at a multilateral level through, for example, the G-20 and, more recently, through its membership of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa network; and at a trilateral level through the arrangement among the India, Brazil and South Africa group of countries.
As the South African economy faces slow recovery from the aftermath of the global economic crisis, Government is expected to use more trade policy measures to encourage growth. South Africa is also diversifying its trade relations by increasing trade with emerging economies while maintaining relations with its traditional trading partners, which will benefit the country in the long term.
“South Africa is strategically aligning itself to partner with important emerging economies.”
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