US to suspend SA duty-free farm trade status

US to suspend SA duty free farm trade statusThe US plans to suspend trade benefits on agricultural goods from South Africa, intensifying a dispute over that country’s restrictions on farm imports that had pitted farmers in the two nations against each other.

The action follows a US review of South Africa’s status as a full beneficiary of a preferential trade agreement under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which eliminates import levies on more than 7,000 products ranging from textiles to manufactured items.
The US determined that South Africa has continued imposing barriers to US trade, including American agricultural exports, according to a letter President Barack Obama sent to the Congress on Thursday. The suspension will become effective in 60 days, according to the notice.

The value of duty-free South African farming exports to the US market was $176 million in 2014, just a fraction of the $1.7 billion of trade under AGOA, according US Department of Commerce data. While that proportion may be low, the suspension threatens to strain trade relations between the nations.


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South Africa's conduct of international relations, especially its role in international organisations like the UN Security Council, its choice of strategic partnerships, its leadership role in Africa, its public engagement and foreign policy decision making, has been intensely debated in the recent past. The FPA programme aims to provide a nuanced analysis and facilitate a structured discussion of South Africa's foreign policy in a changing world environment for purposes of informing its future direction.

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The purpose of this focus area is to unpack the extent to which the policy in its making, its nature and its application constitutes a principled and pragmatic response to a complex international environment. In doing so, we hope to be guided by an objective to promote a foreign policy that positions SA as a responsible global citizen committed to building bridges between various power blocs for the benefit of Africa and South Africans.

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