Trade, Industry and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

PARLIAMENT – South African jobs and investments are safe even if a no-deal Brexit takes place, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Wednesday as he announced that a partnership agreement between the Southern African Customs Union and the UK has been concluded.

"We have an agreement in place, subject to approval by cabinet and ratification by Parliament, that allows a seamless arrangement between South Africa and the United Kingdom in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This is good news for jobs and good news for investment," Patel said at a media briefing in Parliament.

A no-deal Brexit would see the UK leave the European Union without a withdrawal agreement in place. 

Patel said it would have had a devastating impact on the South African economy, specifically the vehicle and auto components, food and wine sectors in South Africa as it would have added additional costs to exporting and importing goods between both countries. 

The minister said after a lengthy period of negotiation, the SACUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was concluded and it will come into effect should Britain leave the EU by October 31. SACUM consists of South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique. The agreement is a rollover of the current terms of the SADC-EU EPA.

"We are aware that there remains an ongoing debate in the UK regarding Brexit, including time and any terms of the exit. However, we are pleased that regardless of the outcomes of these processes, our trading relationship with the United Kingdom can continue without disruption."

African News Agency (ANA)