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Agoa: SA negotiated best deal possible, says Davies

Apr 20 2016 18:30
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies admitted that negotiations with the US on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) have been tough, but noted SA managed to get the best deal possible under tough conditions.  

In his speech that followed his department’s budget vote in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Davies said government has concluded the negotiations on poultry, beef and pork with the United States – “the three meats”.
 
“This brings to a close several months of discussions with the United States on the terms required to secure South Africa’s position in the Agoa for the next 10 years.

"The first shipment of poultry (frozen chicken legs) arrived at the Port of Durban and was cleared by the Port Health Authorities,” Davies said.
 
He acknowledged that the negotiations with the US to secure Agoa have been “complex and arduous”.
 
“But we would have failed in our duty to protect South African businesses and consumers had we simply agreed to the demands as originally put rather than undertaking negotiations.

"I am confident that South Africa has negotiated the best possible deal – in very difficult circumstances – to secure Agoa access at the lowest possible cost to our Agricultural sector.”
 
Fin24 earlier reported that South Africa had missed an important deadline set by US President Barack Obama to conclude the negotiations by the end of December 2015 and there had been fears that South Africa would be suspended from the crucial trade agreement.
 
On 7 January this year though, the two countries reached a deal that secured South Africa’s continuation in Agoa, much to the relief of the agriculture and automative industries, which benefited from significantly through Agoa.
 

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