The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Ministerial Regulations on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) recognises that SEZs are an important tool for development and allows products that are produced in SEZs to be treated as originating goods provided that they meet the agreed rules of origin.  Therefore products produced in South Africa’s SEZs will benefit from the AfCFTA preferential tariff rates. This was said by the Chief Director of Africa Multilateral Economic Relations at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr Sandile Tyini.

Tyini was speaking during a workshop on the implementation and benefits of the AfCFTA that was hosted by the dtic in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in Sandton today.

“The agreement offers legal certainty and predictability of market access, and will enhance investor climate in Africa as well as offers new market access opportunities. It will also enhance intra-African trade through, progressive elimination of tariffs, rules to manage non-tariff barriers, facilitate cooperation on customs, trade facilitation and transit. The AfCFTA will also provide enhanced cooperation on technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures,” said Tyini.

According to Tyini, the successful implementation of AfCFTA is expected to lead to diversification of exports, increased productive capacity, acceleration of growth, increased investment, increased employment opportunities and incomes, as well as broadening economic inclusion.

Speaking at the same event, the Chief Director of SEZs at the dtic, Mr Riaan le Roux described the first South African shipment of goods by Grinding Media South Africa (GMSA) and Defy to Ghana and Kenya, respectively, as a celebratory point of departure. Additionally, he said that SEZs were key to beneficiation and noted that the country needed to continue breaking the cycle of exporting raw material.

The workshop aimed to provide an overview of the AfCFTA and the status of the negotiations and implementation of the agreement, communicate the benefits and export opportunities offered under the AfCFTA to the SEZ managers, investors and tenants. It was also intended to share information on incentives, customs requirements, quality standards and export finance insurance solutions.

The South African Revenue Service presented some technical details on how it supports and facilitates exports from South Africa under the AfCFTA, while Brand SA, Proudly South African and Export Credit Insurance Corporation presented on how to market South African products and brands, increase local production, and facilitate finance insurance for South African exports and cross-border investment.

The Special Economic Zones Programme has over 10 years since its inception, offered a conducive environment for businesses to enhance their operations. The South African government uses the SEZs as a way to attract investments in sectors with no obvious comparative advantage, or as a way of increasing production and exports of value added manufactured products.

The Chief Director of Africa Multilateral Economic Relations at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr Sandile Tyini.

Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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