SA wine industry could add 100 000 jobs by 2025

Thursday, 19 October, 2017, Joseph Booysen
South Africa’s wine industry could add a further 100 000 jobs by 2025, mostly in the Western Cape, following the signing this month of the Economic Partnerships Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) countries.

So said Michael Mokhoro, stakeholder relationship manager for South Africa’s wine and brandy industries.

Countries in Sacu include South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia.

The landmark agreement will mean South Africa’s current duty-free quota of 48 million litres of wine that can be exported to the EU will more than double, to 110 million litres.

Mokhoro said South Africa’s wine industry employs about 275 000 people and this number could swell to 375 000 by 2025. He said the EPA, which was finalised in 2014, needed to be ratified before the end of September, in order to take effect from October.

Although South Africa exports worldwide, the EU is by far the wine industry’s biggest export destination, accounting for 74.8 percent of annual off-shore sales volumes, worth R5.01 billion.

Mokhoro said, however, each of the five countries would first have to individually ratify the agreement through their respective parliamentary processes. The EU parliament would ratify the deal on behalf of its 28 member states.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Friday that South African exports to the EU increased from R151bn in 2011 to R216bn last year.

“The EU remains South Africa’s main trading partner. Total trade increased from R374bn in 2011 to R536bn in 2015, an increase of 43 percent.”

Davies said the EPA would provide improved market access opportunities for South African products, which entail a significant improvement in quota for wine and market access to sugar and ethanol.

“In addition, it will result in improvement on duty preference for SA exports of flowers and fruit products, as well as canned fruit, among others.”

Davies said the increase in the duty-free quota for wine equated to a saving of R108m a year and

the new duty-free market access for 150 000 tons of sugar equated to almost a R1bn market in terms of the average African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States sugar import prices in the EU last year.

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