SOUTH AFRICA NEEDS TO RELOOK ITS TRADE OPTIONS FOLLOWING BREXIT, ECONOMISTS SAY

South Africa will have to be strategic in renegotiating its trade agreements following Britain's decision to leave the European Union (EU) and economists here believe the country needs to be proactive in looking for new options both in Britain as well as in greater Europe.

The next two years will be critical for South Africa's trade relations, especially with regards to recovering market share and increasing exports, economists here say.

"Retain, expand and renew" -- that's the advice from several prominent economists as South Africa responds to Britain's impending exit from the EU.

With automotive and agro-processing strengths behind us, economists are calling for South Africa to increase investment opportunities.

Dr Andre Gouws of the University of Pretoria says: "We need to start looking at where we can exploit these opportunities so we need to find out where Britain is exporting to and who's buying it and see if can we supply those products competitively and vice versa. What is the EU supplying Britain and how we can supply those competitively.

"On the investment side, again we've got free access or better access or preferential access into the European Union. So, British firms that are located there will start battling with getting access into the European market. We should be offering them opportunities to come to South Africa."

Britain ill only officially leave the EU in two years. In that time it will be a substantial re-negotiation process for South Africa as the country aligns itself to the new order.

Retired South African ambassador, Sheila Camerer, said: "Britain is the fifth largest market in the world or economy in the world and the EU is by far the biggest market. It trumps the United States and China, so this is incredibly important for us as a developing country to ensure these agreements go forward in a sensible way.

"We do have time to do this but not enough time probably."

The financial crisis and increasing levels of immigration within Britain have been cited as a huge trigger for Brexit.

Since the results ofd the referendum, the Rand has experienced losses against the US dollar as investors leave riskier assets, but it has regained some ground this week.

Source: Nam News Network

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