South African foreign economic representative in Brazil Shanaaz Ebrahim at the 12th Latin American Defence and Security Exhibition

JOHANNESBURG  - The ratification of agreements between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) trade blocs has led to a steady increase in South African exports to Brazil, the country's foreign economic representative to the South American state Shanaaz Ebrahim has said.

At the 12th Latin American Defence and Security Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro where the department of trade and industry is hosting a stand, Ebrahim said statistics showed South Africa's trade deficit with Brazil had shrunk to US$700 million in 2018 from US$1.2 billion in 2017.

"This is thanks to the fact that we have increased our exports to Brazil by 37 percent from US$483 million in 2017 to US$663 million in 2018," she said.

"Part of this was due to the ratification of the SACU/MERCOSUR preferential trade agreement which was ratified in April 2016 where SACU offered MERCOSUR tariff line items of about 1,065 product lines across 16 sectors of which 469 products are zero percent import duty free."

She said MERCOSUR had reciprocated by offering SACU 1,052 product lines of which 778 products were import duty free.

South Africa and Brazil’s membership to BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) multinational agreements were also an advantage, Ebrahim added.

Twenty-one companies are showcasing South Africa’s industrial capabilities at the LAAD, which gathers international and national companies providing technologies, equipment and services for armed forces, special forces, police, homeland security and security managers from large companies, among others.

- African News Agency (ANA)