Trade between the Western Cape and UK is still positive
During a webinar on Wednesday, 1 December 2021, hosted by the South African Chamber of Commerce UK Cape Chapter, the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture confirmed that trade between the Western Cape and the UK is still positive.
Minister Meyer said:
"The Western Cape Province is a net exporter of agricultural products to the United Kingdom (UK).
The exports of agriculture and agri-processing products in value terms show a generally positive trend from 2010 to 2020.
Primary agricultural products were valued at R7.2 billion in 2020, followed by food, beverage and tobacco at R2.4 billion in the same year, combined agricultural and agri-processing exports were worth R9.6 billion.
Primary agriculture products account for 75% of the exported products and agri-processing 25%.
The EU and the UK are the main export markets for South Africa's table grapes and combined they accounted for 74% of the volumes during the 2019/2020 season.
Furthermore, in 2020, South Africa exported 37% of the 18 000 tonnes of blueberries to the UK.
Some of the significant exports products from the Western Cape in 2020 include wine in a container holding 2 litres or less valued at R1.4 billion. Apples and mandarins accounted for R1.2 billion and R1 billion, respectively. South Africa's bulk wine export volumes to the UK increased by 9.5% from 2019 to 2020.
Some Western Cape imports from the UK include Whisky worth R355 million, flour meal and pellets R83 million, chocolate, and other preparations containing cocoa R39 million.
Post-Brexit opportunities for the Western Cape exports to the UK are essential since this market accounts for over R9 million of the province's agricultural and agri-processing products.
Under the new deal called the Southern Africa Customs Union nations (SACUM)-UK-Economic Partnership agreement (EPA), it is expected that the break-away of the UK from the European Union (EU) will not disrupt trade between our respective regions.
Export-led growth and innovation is our primary policy drive.
This will require a drive towards evidence-based investment in key value chains.
Our greatest resource is our youth, the use of smart technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution."
"We are actively investing in innovation, artificial intelligence, drone technology and digital applications to improve agricultural production in the Western Cape," added Meyer.
During the briefing, Minister Meyer also expressed concern over the red-listing of South Africa by the UK and the impact that this will have on our provincial economy.
"We are calling for the UK to remove South Africa from its travel red list so that we can save jobs in our province," concluded Meyer.