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A Review of South Africa’s Trade Strategy in Light of Global Developments

  • Location: Pretoria, South Africa

SAIIA hosted a Public Forum on "A Review of South Africa’s Trade Strategy in Light of Global Developments", 25 March 2014, in conjunction with the British High Commission and the New Zealand High Commission.

Event details

Date: Tuesday 25 March 2014
Time: 09h00 (registration) for 09h30 (start)
Venue: Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria

Read an article on the remarks by South African Department of Trade and Industry deputy director-general Xavier Carim at the Forum.

Download the presentation made at the Forum by South African Department of Trade and Industry deputy director-general Xavier Carim (PDF, 218.4 kB).

Download the presentation made at the Forum by Prof Ron Sandrey of the Trade Law Centre (PDF, 255.19 kB).

View photos of the event on SAIIA's Facebook account.

Event Background

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) through its Economic Diplomacy Programme is running a project designed to review South Africa’s trade strategy in light of emerging strategic realignments in the global trading system. Until the recent Bali Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) the Doha round was completely deadlocked. The trade facilitation accord, while significant and offering the prospect of some forward movement, concerns only a small component of the round’s agenda. While it is too soon to tell whether it will generate sufficient momentum to unlock the round and secure a broader deal, prospects for this are still not particularly promising. Consequently many countries have pursued their trade interests elsewhere, particularly through bilateral preferential and free trade agreements. Of particular interest is the establishment by the largest developed economies of regional declarations of co-operation and integration – termed mega-regional agreements. The mega-regionals have the potential to reshape the global trading system. On the one hand, through the process known as ‘competitive liberalization’, if successful they will establish new global norms and regulations that will find their way back into the WTO at some point in the future. On the other hand, it is widely accepted that global trade rules have to advance and the mega-regionals may offer some prospects for ensuring this takes place.

Following a successful scoping workshop in 2013, the Public Forum will address the following issues in the panel discussions:

  • Review of “mega-regional” Free Trade Agreements (specifically the TTIP and TPA) and their implications for the WTO, with a view to focusing on how South Africa (and possibly SACU) should respond, and whether this holds consequences for our relations with the BRICS grouping.
  • The future of the WTO post-Bali and particularly the issues around the conclusion of the Doha Round and the potential for negotiation of plurilateral agreements.

 

Speakers

Opening remarks
Nick Monkhouse, British High Commission

Overview of the strategic global trade landscape

  • Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, Cheif Executive, South African Institute of International Affairs (moderator)
  • Xavier Carim, Deputy-Director General, Department of Trade and Industry
  • Peter Draper, South African Institute of International Affairs
  • Niki Cattaneo, Rhodes University
  • Babatunde Omilola, United Nations Development Programme

 

The Doha Round post-Bali and mega-regionals

  • Mills Soko, University of Cape Town (moderator)
  • Crawford Falconer, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • Memory Dube, South African Institute of International Affairs
  • Darlington Mwape, Former Zambian Ambassador to the WTO

 

South Africa's Trade Strategy Options

  • Matthew Stern, DNA Economics (moderator)
  • Ron Sandrey, Trade Law Centre
  • Francis Kornegay, Institute for Global Dialogue
  • Brendan Vickers, Department of Trade and Industry
  • Michael Lawrence, National Clothing Retail Federation of South Africa

 

Closing remarks
Catherine Grant-Makokera, South African Institute of International Affairs

NOTE: To facilitate frank discussions, this event will be held under Chatham House Rules: “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

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