Johannesburg - Deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios
Marantis on Tuesday described a meeting between US and South African trade
officials as "frank" and "extremely productive".
The US officials met with representatives from the
Department of Trade and Industry on Monday.
The possible resuscitation of a trade and investment
framework agreement signed between the two countries about 15 years ago was
discussed at the meeting.
Marantis said the talks had also touched on nationalisation,
which the South African official had confirmed had not nor was about to become
law in the country.
"The meeting has allayed any concerns that we
had," Marantis said. He added that there seemed to be "common
interest" from both parties in growing trade and investment.
Marantis said bilateral trade dialogues between SA and the
US had been "relegated to a more ad hoc basis" and that
"regularised dialogue" was needed. South African representatives are
said to have requested the US to help them promote regional economic integration
and improve the investment climate.
SA should take more advantage of the African Growth and
Opportunity Act, according to Marantis. The act was concluded in 2000 and
offers preferential access to US markets for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries.
Marantis said that $3bn worth of South African exports had
entered US markets duty free under the act in 2010.
No agreements were concluded at Monday's meeting, but
Marantis confirmed that such meetings would occur annually and form the preparatory
work for the trade and investment framework agreement, which they hoped to
conclude at a later date.