Market opportunities

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Market opportunities
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Market opportunities
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With three export-oriented ports, sophisticated road and rail infrastructure linking Cape Town to other major South African and African centres, and the third busiest airport in Africa, it’s not hard to see why more and more businesses are exporting their goods from Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Market opportunities abound for goods and services from the Western Cape, from food and beverages to luxury yachts to offshore business process outsourcing. Currently top markets for Western Cape goods include Namibia, the United Kingdom, the USA, the Netherlands, Botswana, Germany and China.

In 2018, exports from Cape Town and the Western Cape amounted to at least R124-billion. Our numbers show that this is set to grow. The top 10 countries for export from 2013 to 2018 have each shown a growth percentage that varies between 10% to an incredible 25%, averaging 14%.

In 2017, Western Cape halal exports accounted for 37% of all exports, of which 22% was to Muslim consumers.

In 2019, the Wesgro Trade Unit hosted the second annual Africa Halal Week, where halal products were on display for buyers in key markets.

In 2018 the top export products and their value were:

  • Refined petroleum: R14.4-billion
  • Citrus fruit: R12.8-billion
  • Wine: R9.17-billion
  • Grapes: R6.76-billion
  • Apples, pears and quinces: R6.4-billion
  • Products of iron or non-alloy steel: R4.04-billion
  • Fruit and vegetable juice: R2.18-billion
  • Fruits, nuts and other edible parts of plants: R1.95-billion
  • Fish fillets: R1.8-billion
  • Yachts: R1.78-billion

Preferential market access

South Africa currently enjoys duty-free or preferential market access to the European Union, the United States, the Southern African Development Community and the Southern African Customs Union. South Africa also has limited preferential access to the countries that form part of the European Free Trade Association and MERCOSUR.

For more information on how to take advantage of these preferences, contact the Wesgro International Trade team.

The African Continental Free Trade Area

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is aimed at improving intra-Africa trade, currently standing at approximately 17%, by creating a single continental market for goods and services.

This will provide major opportunities for Western Cape exporters, with the province already exporting more than R45-billion worth of goods to the rest of Africa, eclipsing both Europe and Asia.

The AfCFTA agreement officially entered into force on 30 May 2019 after being ratified by a minimum threshold of countries. July 2019 saw the launch of the first operational phase, and a deadline for starting to dismantle tariffs has been set for 1 July 2020.

International trade mission plan

Download our latest international trade mission plan. Please get in touch if you'd like to find out how you can participate.

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The Wesgro Trade Unit provides a free and confidential service to help you establish and grow your business in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Our diverse economy, strong skills base and well-connected infrastructure present many opportunities for foreign buyers seeking high-quality goods and services, as well as exporters looking to expand into the African market.

Read our latest sector and country fact sheets and research reports to identify new opportunities to grow your business.

Mar 2023
An Analysis of Wine Tourism in the Western Cape (2022)
Oct 2021
Promoting Green Trade Competitiveness
Oct 2021
Western Cape Trade Publication 2021
Jul 2021
Wesgro's Export Mission Plan for 2021 - 2022
Mar 2021
Investing in cannabis in South Africa