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South Africa

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On 21 February, 2019, the Department for International Trade (DIT) issued guidance entitled, Existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, which sets out the status of those agreements (free trade agreements, economic partnership agreements, association agreements and customs union) that may not be in place by exit day. It also links to trade agreements that have been signed and mutual recognition agreements that have been signed.

On 31 January 2019, the Department for International Trade announced that the Trade Policy Minister, George Hollingbery, signed the trade continuity agreement in London with a number of representative governments. A continuity agreement will see British businesses and consumers benefitting from continued trade with Eastern and Southern Africa after the UK leaves the European Union. 

On 18 July 2018, the Official Journal published Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1013 of 17 July 2018 imposing provisional safeguard measures with regard to imports of certain steel products. On 26 March 2018, the Commission published a Notice of Initiation of a safeguard investigation concerning imports of 26 steel product categories (2018/C 111/10) in the Official Journal. The Commission decided to initiate the investigation in the light of sufficient evidence that imports of those products might cause or threaten to cause serious injury to the Union producers concerned. On 28 June, the investigation was extended to two additional product categories. There was also a high risk of further increase of imports resulting from trade diversion due to the measures against imports of steel adopted by the United States under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (‘Section 232’). The 28 product categories (‘the product concerned’ or the ‘product categories concerned’) are all covered by the steel surveillance mechanism introduced by the Commission in May 2016. They are also subject to the US tariff measures under Section 232.

As you may recall, early last year, President Trump issued two presidential memoranda instructing the U.S. Commerce Department to initiate an investigation into the national security implications of steel imports and aluminum imports into the United States.  If these so-called “section 232” (section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended) investigations determine that steel import and/or aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security[,]” then the President can impose additional customs duties (among other things) on covered products.

On June 16, 2018, the Secretary of Commerce issued his reports to the President in both matters (unclassified versions of the reports are available here).   In each case, the Department of Commerce concluded that the quantities and circumstances surrounding steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security,” thereby opening the door to the imposition of import restraints.  Specifically, Commerce’s recommendations are as follows:

On July 14, 2017, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice providing country-by-country allocations of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 (October 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018) in-quota quantity of the tariff-rate quotas for imported raw cane sugar, certain sugars, syrups and molasses (also known as refined sugar), specialty sugar, and sugar-containing products.

On 11 October 2016, the Official Journal published a notice announcing that the  European Union and the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Swaziland have notified the completion of the procedures necessary for the provisional application of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the SADC EPA States, of the other part, in accordance with Article 113 of that Agreement.

  On 10 June 2016, the European Commission announced that the European Union and six countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the first of its kind between the EU and an African region pursuing economic integration. The signature took place in Kasane, Botswana. The EPA is a development-oriented free trade agreement. In addition to this agreement, other regional agreements could…

  On March 17, 2016, the Federal Register published  Proclamation 9406 of March 14, 2016 – To Take Certain Actions Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act which revokes Proclamation 9388 of January 11, 2016, and restores the Republic of South Africa (South Africa) as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country for purposes of section 506A(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974 , as added by section 111(a) of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (title…

  On 23 February 2016, the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that South Africa deposited its instrument of acceptance for the 2005 protocol amending the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on 23 February 2016, becoming the fourth WTO member to do so in 2016. The announcement stated: Thailand (on 28 January), Mali (on 20 January) and Lesotho (on 4 January) are the other three members that have accepted the amendment this…