Cape business and government meet to minimise the effect of Brexit

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Cape business and government meet to minimise the effect of Brexit
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Cape business and government meet to minimise the effect of Brexit
Get In Touch
04 October 2016


The UK was the second most important export market for the Western Cape last financial year and the province’s largest investor. Last year the Cape exports to the UK were valued at R8.9 billion we and had a positive trade surplus of R877 million. Exports to the entire European Union were valued at R33 billion in 2015, with the United Kingdom accounting for 36% of these purchases.

The UK has long been a major market for Western Cape agribusiness. Last year it bought R1.5 billion worth of wine, R1.2 billion worth of apples and pears, and R4.8 billion of citrus from the Cape.

The seminar’s chairperson, Western Cape Economic Opportunities Minister, Alan Winde, has been liaising with the British Consul General, Ed Roman, since Brexit became a prospect and despite the unexpected referendum result, is "excited by the opportunities for engagement and renegotiation regarding the trade agreements between SA and the UK. After all our competitors in the rest of the developing world are having the same discussions and we cannot sit back - we have to be proactive."

Currently, our exports to Europe are covered by European treaties like the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement, and the recently signed Southern African Development Community-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

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Once Brexit becomes official South Africa would need to sign a Free Trade Agreement or similar trading arrangement with the UK, or risk the "Most Favoured Nation" principle becoming applicable, putting our exporters at a significant disadvantage.

British Consul General, Ed Roman, provided those in attendance the British Government’s perspective on Brexit and the way forward. “Rejuvenating traditional relationships outside the European Union, particularly the Commonwealth, is a high priority for Britain post-referendum. We have been working closely with the South African government and businesses to limit uncertainty in transition and find the best arrangement for South Africa.”

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, closed the event by informing those in attendance that, “the Agency is working to mitigate any negative effects on trade and investment relationships Brexit may cause, and remind the UK that the Cape is a safe, secure investment destination that can provide a stable base for them to grow new markets in South Africa and the rest of Africa.”

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Colin Wardle | Media Relations Officer

Tel: 021 487 4818


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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.

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