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Thursday, 01 August 2013

EU warns South Africa over "bad" trade policy

In the opening remarks at the South Africa-EU business forum held on July 17, in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria (the event was a precursor to Thursday’s South Africa-EU summit), EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht warned South Africa not to take its relationship with Europe, its biggest single trade partner, for granted.
He said that the EU investors were watching South Africa carefully after the recent unilateral cancellation by South Africa of certain bilateral investment treaties with EU member states. Specifically, he referred to the bilateral investment treaties with some European Union (EU) member states, including Belgium and Luxembourg, and most recently with Spain which were unilaterally revoked by South Africa. "There was little consultation with us," the trade commissioner affirmed.
In this context, he underlined, that no investment from the EU should be taken for granted anymore: "this [cancelation] is a bad policy because it creates uncertainly in markets," he said. He added that it might be only a matter of time before European investors looked elsewhere for trade.
It is reported that his remarks were welcomed by European delegates attending the event.

Earlier that day, referring to the current negotiations on comprehensive trade and development partnerships, de Gucht said that trade negotiations were well advanced and should be finished by the end of this year.
In the same time, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies declared that under the existing Trade and Development Co-operation Agreement between the EU and South Africa, "access for South African agricultural products was not that well treated", and that negotiations were "seeking to improve that access".

Source: European Commission, MSN Business News, bdlive.co.za

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