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Patel: New UK deal will allow trade to conitnue without disruptions

South Africa has a back-up to protect its trade ties with the United Kingdom should Britain leave the European Union without a deal in place on 31 October.

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

CAPE TOWN - South Africa has a back-up to protect its trade ties with the United Kingdom should Britain leave the European Union without a deal in place on 31 October.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel announced on Wednesday that a new trade agreement, which included Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, eSwatini and Mozambique, would ensure no disruptions to imports and exports.

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.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel: "We are aware there remains an ongoing debate in the United Kingdom regarding Brexit, including time and the terms of exit [from the European Union]. However, we are pleased that regardless of the outcome, our trading relationship with the UK can continue without disruption. This is important for the thousands of South African workers whose jobs are dependent on this trade and for investors who have utilised South Africa as an export base to the UK and the rest of the world."

The new agreement must still be ratified by Cabinet and the parliaments of all six countries. He said the new deal would effectively rollover terms of trade in the existing economic partnership agreement between the European Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.