Seminar on trade policy Reply

This afternoon Prof Henri Bezuidenhout and the ECON616 class, along with TRADE, hosted Peter Draper of Tutwa Consulting for a seminar on trade policy.

Peter Draper

The theme as AGOA and the future of SA-US trade relations and had a very interesting international political economy angle. Peter first explained the strategic context, putting AGOA into perspective. Then he focused on the current issues, specifically the case of poultry. In his analysis, the US won this first battle, but with AGOA set to expire in 2025, there are any number of possible skirmishes ahead – many of which will be about US foreign direct investment and the regulation of multinationals. The chance that a free trade agreement (FTA) will replace AGOA looks slim: on the one hand there are protectionist views and powerful interest groups in South Africa, and on the other hand the US has an inflexible gold-standard-FTA template that they are not keen to negotiate around. The alternative could be a new agreement on a Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trade basis, but here South African agricultural products and vehicles looks set to lose. How government and business will respond brings us back to political economy.

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