CAPE TOWN – Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says that government is working on its plan to ensure stable ties with the United Kingdom after it leaves the European Union (EU).
The UK is set to leave the EU at the end of the week but that’s been potentially delayed to 12 April.
Davies was speaking at the Cape Town Press Club on Tuesday.
The minister said it was critical that the government reached a trade agreement with the UK to avoid less favourable tariff schedules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The current agreement favours southern African countries more.
“If we reach a deal – we’ve actually gotten until the end of 2020 – there’s time that we are supposed to negotiate with the EU. And in the meantime, all existing deals that the EU has with everybody else, including ourselves, will remain for now.”
If the UK were to trade on terms on the WTO, exporters would have to pay duties which they currently don’t pay.
“If they had to crash out on 12 April, then at least we got to fall back on the NFM tariffs. And those NFM tariffs we know there will be no interruption for our exports.”
Exporters would also have difficulties in getting products out.