Southern Africa Plans Free Trade Agreement With India

India and South Africa plan to increase trade to US$15-billion (R105-billion) by 2014 from the current US$10,6-billion.

And talks are already underway towards a Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement between Indian and the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).

Speaking at the second India-South Africa CEOs’ Forum, Indian Minister of Commerce & Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma said: “We have achieved bilateral trade worth US$10-billion in 2010 – our target for 2012. This year we have already reached US$7-billion, and so we have revised the target to US$15-billion by 2014.” The CEO forum is headed by Ratan Tata of India and Patrice Motsepe of South Africa.

Sharma said afterwards bilateral meetings have been held to establish an Indian-Sacu Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). Sacu comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.

Under a PTA, both sides will reduce their tariffs on agreed products from the level they maintain with countries that are not members to the agreement. However, unlike FTA agreements, PTAs do not slash or eliminate duties from a large number of tariff lines.

“Relationships with India had been growing enormously. Indian companies are among our largest investors in South Africa. South African companies are also finding a growing role in the Indian market,” said South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.