“Our trade with the United States is practically back to where it was in 2008, which is not the case with many of our partners in the EU. It’s balanced, it’s about 61 billion rand each way and it includes a proportion of value-added products,” Davies, South Africa’s (SA) minister of trade and industry, told CNBC Africa on Wednesday.
“If you look at it bilaterally, it’s the kind of trade outcome that I think we would have all been talking about.”
Davies recently visited the United States (US) to exchange views on extending the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) beyond its current target of 2015.
“I was telling the audiences in the United States about the integration programmes, the industrialisation, the infrastructure developed on the African continent. This is the kind of areas that have got to be addressed if we’re going to make use of this, and these are the things that are going to preoccupy us over the next 10 to 15 years,” Davies explained.
He believes that AGOA is significant to regional integration efforts in Africa, and that it has transformed the way Africa interacts with the US on trade and economic ssues.
“They have opportunities for United States companies in the infrastructure build, in industrial investments. Some of their programmes like Power Africa, which are trying to address issues of electricity generation on the African continent, could be built as a basis for strengthening a broader use of AGOA opportunities.”
He added that at the moment, Africa is looking for a clear decision that creates certainty on the future of AGOA.
“Their USTR has announced that there will be some kind of summit next year. President Obama will invite leaders from Africa to go there, and they will announce their thinking at that point. Washington’s in a thinking mode at the moment and we were trying to influence that thinking that’s going on there,” Davies indicated.
“They’re going to be preparing their proposal and they’re going to be preparing that at a summit – congress ultimately will be involved, which is why we’ve had to go speak to people in congress.”