According to media reports South Africa is proposing to limit cheap imports into the country in order to save South African jobs. This proposal originates from a joint government, business and labour task team.
It is understood that the proposal will try and stay within the rules for multilateral trade as South Africa agreed to at the World Trade Organisation. However at this stage it is too early to comment on what avenues will be pursued as there are currently no details on the proposed limitations on these cheap imports.
This approach by the South African government is in line with that of some of South Africa’s trading partners who are trying to weather the effects of the global economic slowdown. As we mentioned earlier (please click here to read that article) South Africa was also considering extending the quotas on textiles and clothing originating from the People’s Republic of China. Again this has been done in an attempt to save jobs in the local industry. Business Day reports that China’s ambassador to Pretoria confirmed that South Africa did indeed request an extension of the quotas at the end of 2008. Currently the request is being considered by China as a myriad of legal questions surround the imposition of the quotas. Businesses importing from Asian countries need to take special notice of these developments.