Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel on March 30 met virtually with the newly-appointed US Trade Representative ambassador Katherine Tai to discuss a range of bilateral and multilateral trade issues, including the US’s Section 232 tariffs, agricultural market access and the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
The officials also discussed South Africa’s continued eligibility for the preferential tariffs established under the Generalised System of Preference; the proposed waiver on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which South Africa has championed at the World Trade Organisation to provide access to Covid-19 vaccines development for developing countries; and strengthening multilateralism for development, the DTIC said in a statement.
Patel and Tai also discussed the strategic importance of the trade relationship between the two countries.
South Africa is the US’s largest trading partner on the African continent, with R261-billion in bilateral trade in 2020.
Patel and Tai agreed to engage on a regular basis to raise and discuss key issues.
Tai was sworn in on March 18 by US Vice President Kamala Harris as the nineteenth US Trade Representative, following her unanimous confirmation in the US Senate. The US Trade Representative is a Cabinet-level position.