Competition policy is playing an increasingly significant role in the trade and investment environment in South Africa. According to a 2010 IMF report, there is a high degree of product market restrictiveness in South Africa that is partly exacerbated by anti-competitive behaviour in the markets. This is regarded as being highly trade restrictive.
Also, the recent Wal-Mart/Massmart case brought under closer scrutiny the link between investment, competition and trade policy. It highlighted the potential use of competition policy as a vehicle for industrial policy and other domestic economic objectives. Can governments use competition policy to stimulate the growth and development of certain sectors, including through investment, and would this be compatible with the rules of the international trading system? In addition to creating a conducive policy environment, there are other direct measures used by the government to attract investment from both domestic and international sources. As is the case with many other developing countries, SA seeks to boost investment through a variety of incentive schemes that operate at the local, provincial and national level. These incentives have been put in place to support the various economic development objectives of SA. What type of incentives are being offered? How effective are they?
SAIIA, TIPS and Tralac have come together to create a platform for the discussion of these issues. Trudi Hartzenberg, from Tralac, will present on the interlink between competition, investment and trade policy in South Africa. Lesley Wentworth, an independent consultant for SAIIA will scope out the range of investment incentives currently being offered in South Africa.