South Africa’s trade relationship with China is growing, resulting in several announcements regarding trade at the BRICS Summit in August 2023. Among the announcements was the news that Chinese companies had signed deals to buy South African products worth around USD 2.2 billion. Also announced were plans for China to import more South African beef and other South African agricultural products, as well as the donation of Chinese energy equipment worth USD 8.9 million to South Africa, in addition to a grant valued at USD 26.9 million to assist the country with its energy crisis.
It was recently announced that South Africa’s Health Promotion Levy on sugary beverages was to be extended to pure juice. The South African government is expected to publish a discussion paper on the levy soon. This is intended to aid consultation on the proposals to extend the levy to pure fruit juices and lower the four-gram threshold.
Today’s global economy demands that businesses expand beyond borders, but they face hurdles from customs, as well as regulatory barriers in different countries and regions that make this expansion challenging. The South African Revenue Service Authorised Economic Operators programme offers numerous benefits for businesses trading within the regional market of the Southern African Custom Union and internationally. Such businesses include manufacturers, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, consolidators, intermediaries, ports, airports, terminal operators, integrated operators, warehouses, distributors, and freight forwarders.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows duty- and quota-free exports from eligible African countries into the United States, is due to expire in 2025. There has been much speculation that it might be replaced with new trade agreements between the two regions that will follow the free trade policies of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement and the reciprocal trade initiatives promoted as part of the US’s Prosper Africa initiative. It has also been suggested that an evolved AGOA might be the way forward, creating an increasingly mutually beneficial trade relationship between the two regions.
The annual quota for frozen bone-in cuts of the species Gallus Domesticus originating in, or imported from, the United States has been increased from 71,290 tonnes to 71,632 tonnes, with retrospective effect from 1 April 2022.
The introduction of an augmented and accelerated capital expenditure deduction for the cost of constructing renewable energy infrastructure in South Africa is a boon for companies that have not yet reached their Environmental, Social and Governance goals. It provides the opportunity to undertake reportable ESG initiatives and simultaneously enjoy a reduction in tax costs. Fully leveraging this opportunity will require a comprehensive understanding of the mechanics of amended incentives and the dynamics of ESG reporting.
The main objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement are to create a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus to pave the way to accelerate the establishment of a customs union in the future.
The AfCFTA agreement has the ultimate goal of increasing the ease of trade and investment across African borders as well as eliminating tariffs on intra-African trade, reducing unemployment, increasing infrastructure development and creating a more competitive and sustainable environment for cross-border trade.
The AfCFTA entered into force on 30 May 2019, and trade under the AfCFTA started on 1 January 2021.
As a top producer of numerous critical mineral commodities, Africa is set to benefit from the rapid increase in the rate of global energy transition, with the continent’s mining industry playing a role in sourcing and supplying these critical minerals for use in clean energy initiatives. Exporting these critical minerals as raw materials, however, reduces Africa’s trading position to one of price takers, and the current disruptions in global supply chains are hampering the trade of these commodities in Africa, with mining companies subject to long delays and higher costs. The African Continental Free-Trade Area, implemented in 2021, acts as a strong impetus for African governments to address their infrastructure gaps, streamline their supply chains, boost their manufacturing capacity and overhaul regulation relating to trade, cross-border initiatives, investment-friendly policies and capital flows.
The strengthening partnership between the United States and Africa is having a positive impact on the myriad of trade and investment opportunities created by the African Continental Free Trade Area. At the recent US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, DC in December 2022, a number of exciting initiatives and investments were announced by the US to boost two-way trade and investment between the two regions.
The implementation of Pillar 2, a principal rule of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s 15% global minimum tax proposal, has been debated for several years. Recently, Japan took a firm step towards affirming its adoption of Pillar 2 when the country outlined its 2023 Tax Reform Package, which included the implementation of the 15% global minimum tax. The Package also introduced an Income Inclusion Rule that in broad terms, aligns with the Global Anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) Model Rules, expected to become effective in 2024. This affirmative step by Japan puts some pressure on other states that have committed to implementing the GloBE rules, particularly in the European Union (EU), the United States (US) and South Africa.