Trade Policy

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What impact do import tariffs have on the domestic market? The South African poultry experience

In November 2019, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) published the Poultry Master Plan. The Plan is South Africa’s latest effort to revive the poultry sector and outlines the specific actions that are needed to stimulate local demand, boost poultry sector exports, and protect the local industry. Whilst there are many tools available to the DTIC to improve the functioning of the sector, this blog focuses on the use of import tariffs. The blog considers the impact of an import tariff on the domestic market in respect of consumers, producers, and government.

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What is fair SACU customs compensation to the BLNS?

There has been slow progress in SACU negotiations, with possible changes to the revenue sharing formula a sticking point. In this context, the “fairness” of the current formula used to distribute SACU’s customs collections is examined. The brief, high level, analysis suggests that the compensation the BLNS receive for loss of tariff policy independence is much larger than what could be considered “fair”. Acceding to this argument may be in the BLNS’ best interest if they wish to have greater influence in SACU’s trade and industrial policy in future.

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Preparing for the continental free trade area negotiations – what can we learn from economics?

In our work on trade and regional integration, DNA Economics regularly meets with trade negotiators and other interested parties. Based on these discussions, our overall sense is that progress towards the CFTA has been slow, and most countries remain unprepared for the up-coming negotiation process. This bodes badly for the likely outcome of the CFTA negotiations. What more can regional trade negotiators do to prepare for these engagements and contribute towards a positive and meaningful agreement? And what lessons can we draw from our study of economics which may assist countries in these negotiations.

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Should South Africa be concerned about Brexit?

The world is a turbulent place; ripples from ‘events’ in one country can have destabilising effects on other countries and people. The decision by the UK to leave the EU (‘Brexit’) is a case in point. The shock-waves are likely to extend well beyond the British Isles. But is it something that South Africans should worry about in advance?

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The 2nd annual Number 43 business roundtable

The 2nd Annual Number 43. Business Roundtable was held in Swaziland on 21 June 2015. This Roundtable event forms part of the annual celebrations recognising the contribution made by the Number 43. Trelawney Park household in the fight against Apartheid. Given the recognition of cross-border support to this cause, regional integration forms the core theme of the Roundtable discussion. This year, the Roundtable welcomed the South African Reserve Bank Governor, Mr. Lesetja Kganyago, as the event’s “Chief Instigator”. The resulting discussion was robust and serves to highlight some of the key constraints and opportunities to regional integration in SADC.

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Time for a renewed focus on the EGS sector in Southern Africa

After a long lull in developments in Environmental Goods and Services (EGS) trade policy, there is increased impetus globally to liberalise the EGS sector. South Africa’s relatively advanced position in the EGS market within Southern Africa makes it well placed to drive the reduction of barriers to EGS trade in the region. However, this requires a deeper understanding of the regional EGS market and the barriers constraining its growth.

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Humbled by the data

Roman Grynberg’s most recent diatribe in the Mail and Guardian demands a response. His main point seems to be that South Africa depends on its exports to Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS) to fund its trade deficit with the rest of the world and for this reason it is prepared to go to extreme lengths to hide its trade data and pay-off the BLNS through the SACU revenue sharing agreement.

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Making SACU work for trade

One of the fundamental reasons for the creation of a customs union is to facilitate intra-union trade, specifically through the removal of border controls on goods between member countries. The removal of border posts not only facilitates trade but can catalyse the development of regional value chains and unlock new industries as the costs of transport and logistics fall.

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South Africa’s importance and reputation as an investor in Africa

The formation of the BRICS, Africa’s rising importance as a destination for foreign investment and the continent’s favourable growth prospects have ensured renewed focus on the continent, and South Africa is seen and marketed as a “gateway to Africa”. What is often missed however is the extent to which South African companies themselves have invested in the continent, and the positive light in which these companies are viewed by consumers in many host countries. A recent report by DNA Economics and TNS Surveys for NEDLAC’s Fund for Research into Industrial Development, Growth and Equity (Fridge) places the importance of South Africa’s outward FDI into context and assesses the attitude of host countries to South African investors.

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