The Western Cape Agriculture sector relies heavily on the trade of citrus fruits. South Africa exports citrus fruits to the value of $ 700 million to the United States. Should the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) deal fall through, 85 000 jobs in the citrus farming sector will be at risk.
I will write to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, to encourage him to comply with the 60-day deadline to meet the requirements for the renewal of AGOA.
Minister Davies has been dishonest with Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry in National Parliament. He has informed the committee that negotiations are on track to be finalised by December 2015. However, President Barak Obama has given South Africa 60 days to show that we are meeting the eligibility requirements as stipulated for AGOA.
The Western Cape contributes 70% to the total agricultural exports of South Africa. Missing this trade opportunity will have a damning impact on our regional economy.
I am not convinced that Minister Davies fully understands what the unintended impact of losing this trade deal will be for South Africa. Much like Minister Malusi Gigaba failed to see the unintended consequence that the Visa Regulations 2014 has had on the South African Tourism Industry.
Source: Beverley Schäfer MPP (Western Cape Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture)