South Africa must maintain good relations with trade partners

2015-06-17
Adv Anton Alberts

One of the primary tasks of a responsible government who has committed itself to the protection of human rights, an expanding economy and food security is to maintain good relations with its most important trade partners, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ spokesperson on Trade and industry said.

During the parliamentary debate on negotiations affecting the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Adv. Alberts said that for South Africa it meant that relations with the European Union and America should at all time at least be neutral even though we have become part of Brics. Our economy is still dependent on foreign investments.

He said that although South Africa had been on the receiving end of sanctions under the previous regime, the ANC government had in this respect scored an own goal and succeeded in imposing sanctions against itself.

“In the first instance it was done by creating policy uncertainty. The ANC thinks it can think up a ridiculous policy and then later withdraw it as a result of protests, without causing any damage to the country’s reputation.

“With regards to AGOA, the conflict wasn’t just about chickens. America is also concerned about signals being sent out through silly policies such as foreign investors’ restriction on shareholding in security firms and land as well as the restrictions that Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) places on investors.

These policies shouts out to foreign countries: You are not welcome her! Across all of it is written: ‘Xenophobia Rules’.

“The second problem is the unilateral cancelling of the country’s investment agreements with faithful trade partners. While the agreements lapse, the world is still tensely waiting on legislation which has to replace this situation.

“It creates uncertainty for foreign investors. Why would anybody invest here if it knows that the state, as custodian, could seize his/her assets with the result that legally it does not have to pay any compensation?

The third problem is the ANC government’s deliberate defiance of meeting its international obligations. The Omar al-Basjir debacle sent a clear signal to the world that South Africa cannot be trusted as far as its international agreements and even its own Constitutions and court orders are concerned,” Adv. Alberts said.

“President Barack Obama’s non-official mouthpiece, the New York Times, published an article yesterday with the caption: “South Africa is an injudicious state”, thus, that the supremacy of the law no longer exists.

“How did we get here? The ANC proved that in the political world a quick reversed evolution could actually take place. How else does one explain the transformation of the image of the government from a near saint in Nelson Mandela in 1994 to a zebra in 1999 with racist legislation drawn in black and white lines to the chicken in 2015 where the ANC is too scared to implement international legal agreements and eventually become a d\budding skunk in the eyes of the world?

“If the ANC really wants to develop this country’s economy to the advantage of everybody, especially the poor, he will have to face reality sooner. The trust of the world, especially the trading world which matters, is earned with difficulty and lost easily,” Adv. Alberts said.

 

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