Southern Africa scrambles to avoid trade fallout from Brexit

The South African government is scrambling to nail down a free trade deal with the UK before Brexit.

As the 29 March Brexit deadline looms, Pretoria is trying to prevent a disruption of South Africa’s lucrative trade with the UK when it leaves the European Union.

It is closely watching British Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to steer a last-ditch Brexit deal through the House of Commons this week to avoid the UK crashing out with no deal on 29 March.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and his counterparts from the region are hoping to hold a telephone conference with UK secretary of state Liam Fox or his trade deputy on Friday to try to finalise a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

However, the conference has not yet been finalised.

If they fail to reach an agreement before Brexit, some exports to the UK will incur higher import tariffs. Sales of cars are likely to be the biggest casualties, Davies told journalists on Wednesday in Cape Town.

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