Total bilateral trade between the United States of America and South Africa reached R122.7 billion (about US$12.3 billion) last year, almost back to the 2008 levels of R123.7 billion, South African minister of trade and industry Dr Rob Davies said this week in Pretoria ahead of US President Barack Obama to the country.
“The United States is also our second-largest export destination and third-largest import partner,” he said. “We have a healthy vigorous and growing trade relations,” he said, adding that the two countries have good investment relationship particularly regarding Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
‘Last year we saw investment in 37 projects with a capital expenditure (capex) of R8.8 billion (almost US$1 billion), the year before we had 34 projects with higher capex value of R10.7 billion. This year, we have also seen a number of significant announcements,’ he said.Davies added that the other feature of SA’s relations with the US is that it is a fairly strong and significant two way investment relationship.
‘We have top South African companies such as SASOL, Dimension Data and Sappi that have invested and created jobs in the United States. Similarly, 600 US companies have invested and created jobs in South Africa. Examples are, Amazon.com, General Electric, Ford and Proctor and Gamble,’ he said
He emphasised that South Africa will use Obama’s visit to lobby for the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) to 15-20 years.
“We are strongly in support of the African position on this, which is to call for a roll-over for a significant period of time of AGOA. We think that will provide a degree of certainty, allow some investment to take place on the basis of AGOA activities,’ he concluded.
Photo: US President Barack Obama