The European Union-South African FTA: Why is there still no agreement?

This document describes negotiation between the European Union and South Africa about a possible Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which has been without significant progress. The EU has a long-standing relationship with developing countries.Unlike countries which are classified as under-developed or developing, South Africa is classified as an economy in transition. It is therefore a unique case and difficult to deal with within the framework of the EUs relationship with the developing world. The problems with the EU-SA negotiations can be traced to the beginning of the process, when South Africa requested full participation in the Lomé Convention, which was not considered due to South Africa’s economic sophistication. To strengthen its Lomé claim, South Africa signed a Free Trade Protocol with the Southern African Development Community. However, the addition of SADC to South Africa did not sway the EU to grant full South African participation in the Lomé Convention. The current problems with the FTA lie in South Africa’s inability to accept its semi-developed status, its fears of not getting the best possible deal, and pressure from a SADC fearful of the negative effects of an FTA. South Africa should also consider alternatives to accepting an FTA with the EU.