Important Analysis: Will the USA punish South Africa with Bilateral Relations Bill?


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[Here's a quick, good summary of how this works and what might come of it. Jan]

The US House tabling the Bilateral Relations Bill is likely to have negative impacts on South Africa, potentially affecting trade and jobs. Here’s why:

Loss of preferential trade access: The bill seeks to determine if South Africa’s actions undermine US interests. If found to be detrimental, it could lead to South Africa losing benefits under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).

AGOA benefits South Africa significantly: AGOA grants duty-free access to US markets for many South African exports. In 2023, South Africa exported over R65 billion worth of goods to the US under AGOA, supporting over 150,000 jobs [ActionSA]. Losing these benefits would be a major blow to the South African economy.

South Africa’s foreign policy a concern: The US may view South Africa’s recent alignment with Russia as a reason for negative impacts. Maintaining good relations with the US is crucial for South Africa’s trade and economic well-being.

It’s important to note that the situation is still unfolding. The extent of the negative impact will depend on the final provisions of the bill and South Africa’s response to US concerns.

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