Sustainable Growth

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Climate change and trade risk: South Africa's trade with the European Union

The European Union (EU) is a significant export destination for South African products. Between 2010 and 2019, exports to the EU averaged between 16% and 19% of South African exports. The main exports to the EU over this period were motor vehicles and metals. South African exports to the EU are at risk from the recently announced border carbon tax on imports within the EU from 2023. The EU has adopted a tough stance towards fossil fuels and, after years of consolidating a domestic carbon regime, the EU is beginning to pay increasing attention to leakages from imports.

This brief is based on a comprehensive review of the EU’s climate change policy framework in relation to industries, as well as a review of South Africa’s climate and trade risks. It forms part of a research project for the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition examining the vulnerability of South African trade to evolving climate change legislation. The research comprises a main report on The global climate change regime and its impacts on South Africa's trade and competitiveness: A data note on South Africa's exports; case studies on various sectors; detailed briefs that explore South Africa’s trade risks with different countries; and key data in Excel format.

The reports, other country briefs and excel sheets are available at Climate change and trade risks.