UK and South Africa hold talks over new trade opportunities

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The UK and South Africa have held talks over potential routes to strengthen their international trade ties post-Brexit.

Ministers from the UK and South Africa have met to discuss the possibility of forming deeper international trade links once Britain leaves the European Union.

The British secretary of state for international trade Dr Liam Fox met with South Africa's minister of trade and industry Dr Rob Davies in London last week for bilateral talks to build upon the countries' trade and economic relations, following the recent visit of UK chancellor Philip Hammond to South Africa in December 2016.

The ministers committed to strengthening ties as the UK prepares to begin the formal Brexit process, with both nations showing enthusiasm for working together to identify trade and investment opportunities that will be mutually beneficial, not only Britain and South Africa but for southern Africa and the African continent in general.

Bilateral trade in goods and services between the UK and South Africa came to £7.6 billion (€8.94 billion) in 2015, with UK exports of goods and services increasing by 25 per cent in the last decade. South Africa's exports into the UK, meanwhile have increased by more than five percent annually over the last decade, making the country the third biggest trading partner for the UK in the Commonwealth.

Dr Davies said: "We must ensure that we have a predictable trade and investment environment for mutual benefit for both parties. As we work to achieve this, South Africa looks forward to discussing how our trade post-Brexit could build on the recently concluded economic partnership agreement with the EU."

This view was supported by Dr Fox, who said: "As we become an even more outward looking country, we will continue building on our relationship with South Africa."