Principles of trade: SA & its developed and developing partners

TradeInvestSA - 21 October 2007

Post-apartheid South Africa embarked on a trade policy framework to make the economy competitive by engaging the international community. That framework took the economy through a gradual process of reforms that resulted in a shift - from being one of the most protected and distorted markets in the world to the one that reflects openness. The momentum was carried forward by the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994 and implementation of the free trade agreements (FTAs) with the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2000.

Furthermore, South Africa has given consideration to FTAs with China, India, Brazil and Unites States as it tries to broaden trade relations across the globe. The most observable feature of these commitments is the reduction of import protection. This is based on the principle that resources will flow from uncompetitive sectors to sectors with a comparative advantage as competition increases, known as allocative efficiency. The same argument can be used to refer to the trade partners that dominate relations with South Africa: that trade should be biased in favour of the competitive ones at the expense of uncompetitive ones.

View the attached document to read more.