Sustainable Growth

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Climate change and trade risk: South Africa's trade with China

Exports to China have fluctuated between 9% and 12% of South Africa’s exports between 2010 and 2020. South Africa’s main exports to China comprise metal products. China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG), for both production and consumption. This stems mainly from coal-based electricity generation and mining. While both China’s domestic and foreign policies depict a leniency towards coal-fired power generation, the country is a leading global investor in renewable energy production both domestically and abroad. At the centre of China’s climate change regulation is the issuance and monitoring of energy efficiency standards, particularly for cars.

This brief is based on a comprehensive review of China’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.