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SA concludes trade deal with UK should there be no-deal Brexit

A no-deal Brexit without a new agreement in place would have hit the South African economy, costing jobs and loss of exports, as Britain is a key trading partner.

FILE: Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - South Africa has concluded a new trade agreement with the United Kingdom that will kick in if Britain crashes out of the European Union (EU) with no deal at the end of October.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel announced the breakthrough on Wednesday.

A no-deal Brexit without a new agreement in place would have hit the South African economy, costing jobs and loss of exports, as Britain is a key trading partner.

Patel picked up the baton from his predecessor, Rob Davies, in trade talks that started about two years ago when the UK announced it was to leave the EU.

"The new agreement – to be known as the SACUM-UK economic partnership agreement – will effectively roll over and replicate terms of trade present in existing SADC-EU EPA (economic partnership agreement) including in respect of tariffs, quotas, rules of origin and health and safety standards," he said.

The SACUM countries include the five SA Customs Union countries of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana Lesotho, eSwatini, and Mozambique.

“The new EPA will come into effect in the event the UK leaves the EU on 31 October 2019 and will govern bilateral trade between the six SACUM countries on the one side and the UK on the other side," Patel said.

He said the agreement must still go before Cabinet and be ratified, including by Parliament.

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