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SA allays US nationalisation fears

Jun 07 2011 13:24 I-Net Bridge

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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. 

nationalisation  |  trade  |  sa economy
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