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UK reassures SA on post-Brexit ties
UK reassures SA on post-Brexit ties

UK reassures SA on post-Brexit ties

ECONOMIC NEWS - Dec 9th 2016, 15:02

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond wants EU-grade trade and investment pacts with SA 

The UK is looking to negotiate post-Brexit trade and investment pacts with SA that are as good as the ones the country has with the EU.

That was the word on Wednesday from Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, who is visiting SA as the UK goes all out to allay concerns among its trading partners that they have nothing to fear from its decision to pull out of the EU — a process Prime Minister Theresa May has said Britain will trigger in March 2017.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who met Hammond on Wednesday, said the visit had given SA a better understanding of Brexit processes and reassurance that it would not have any disruptive effects on relations between SA and the UK.

Hammond, a Tory veteran who May appointed to the chancellor’s post (the equivalent of our finance minister) in July, said the UK had long and deep trade relations with SA.

Though there were concerns that Brexit would interfere with the existing partnership between SA and the EU, there was no reason why the UK and SA could not continue to have an agreement on exactly the same terms as when the UK was part of the EU. "We will look to have in place a substitute trade agreement with SA modelled on the EU agreement as an interim step," he said. "But we want to explore an enhancement of trade relations beyond that."

SA and the UK have almost £8bn of two-way trade, with SA exporting manufacturing and agricultural products such as wine and fruit. Hammond sees the two countries as a more "natural fit" in the sense that, for example, while the EU is looking to impose external tariffs on SA wines, the UK hardly produces any wine so it could welcome more SA wine imports.

SA is also an unusual investment partner in that the UK is the largest source of foreign direct investment into SA.

© Business Live MMXVI 

Read more about: trade | sa economy | economy | brexit

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