The FF Plus will put pressure on the South African government to meet the deadline of the Agoa trade agreement with America, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on Trade and Industry said.
President Barack Obama announced yesterday that South Africa has until 15 March to remove obstacles which is still in the way of American imports of poultry and meat products to South Africa.
Should the country not comply, the tariff-free imports of South African agricultural products to America will be suspended.
Adv. Alberts says the FF Plus expected the patience of America to run out, seen against the backdrop of the ANC and Rob Davies, the minister of trade and industry, dragging their feet about the issue.
He says it appears as if Davies does not take the country’s trade relations with its traditional partners, such as America and the European Union, serious.
“Our economic well-being and survival are increasingly becoming dependent on skunk countries such as Cuba and Brics countries such as Brazil, which has already reached junk status, Russia, India and China which likewise is currently experiencing problems of their own.
China’s economy is cooling down rapidly at the expense of the Rand and it would therefore be economic suicide to alienate traditional and established trade partners.
“I will ask the minister at the first opportunity in February at the first meeting of the trade and industry parliamentary portfolio committee to explain this and to give the assurance that South Africa will stick to the Agoa deadline.
“Given South Africa’s existing problems such as economic contraction and growing trade deficit due to a number of factors, amongst others the recent set-backs such as Nenegate, the country’s economy is an unfolding fiasco.
“The country can not afford to alienate its traditional trade partners at this stage. Although the weak Rand is a tremendous shock to the country’s economy, it can still work to our advantage for exports if we have trade partners, such as America. That is why Agoa is important to the country,” Adv. Alberts said.
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