SA-EU Trade, Development, Cooperation Agreement: briefing by Department of International Relations and Cooperation

Meeting Summary

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation stated that

the SA-EU Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) mainly focussed on the bilateral relations between the EU and SA and the Strategic Partnership. He said that the relations were driven by mutual trade and development assistance between the two. The TDCA had to be updated to keep up with the dynamics of evolving relations, 35 new and revised articles necessitated a ratification of the original agreement.

Members concerns included inadequate market access for SA agricultural goods in the EU. Members also enquired about the amounts allocated for tourism and how the funds were distributed in the provinces. They asked for specifics on how the municipalities would benefit from the infrastructure development aid arising from the ratified TDCA.

The Committee supported the ratification of the Revised TDCA.

Meeting report

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) briefing on the SA-EU Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement TDCA

Mr Jan Van Vollenhoven, Chief Director: European Organisations, DIRCO, gave a brief background on the TDCA. He explained that the TDCA was signed in1999 as the first bilateral framework agreement between SA and the EU. The TDCA was only partially implemented in the year 2000 and fully implemented in 2004 after the final ratification. The 2004 review led to the realisation that the TDCA needed an update. Formal revision negotiations started in March 2007.

The Amending Agreement was signed by Minister Nkoane-Mashabane during the second SA-EU summit on 11 September 2009 held in Kleinmond, Western Cape. The negotiations were conducted by the three groups namely, Political Dialogue Negotiating Group led by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation; Economic and Other Areas of Co-operation Working Group led by DIRCO; and Development Co-operation Negotiation Group led by the National Treasury.

The TDCA still had 35 new and revised articles that had to be ratified. He said that South Africa cannot afford to delay the ratification because the EU had a Strategic Partnership with SA and only 8 other countries such as China, Japan, Brazil, Ukraine, Russia, Canada, India and the USA. The SA-EU Strategic Partnership was a political plan of action that complimented the TDCA. Non Ratification of the TDCA Revision Agreement by SA would send a negative signal to a key Strategic Partner. He said that the EU regarded the HIV/AIDS as security threat because it would lead to further poverty, and migration to Europe. EU Development bank borrowed SA money for infrastructure development without any strings attached. EU was the largest donor of aid to SA.

Please refer to attached documents for more details on the “Revised TDCA in context” (powerpoint presentation) and a summary on new and revised TDCA articles (DIRCO document).


Discussion

Mr B Mnguni (ANC, Free State) said literature had always pointed to the negative role played by the west regarding its relationship to Africa. The Harvard study said that South Africa should forget about beneficiation of mineral resources.

Mr Van Vollenhoven replied that there were other forms of beneficiation like diamond cutting which did not require huge and expensive machinery.

Mr F Adams (ANC, Western Cape) enquired about the implications of postponing the ratification the Revised TDCA on SA-EU relations.

Mr Van Vollenhoven explained that SA negotiators had tried to stall the Ratification of the Revised TDCA, but the SA Maritime industry complained that it was causing unnecessary delays in trade between SA and the EU. Container transport could be used to transport radioactive material.

Mr A Nyambi (ANC, Mpumalanga) asked about the implications of the Revised TDCA on local government level.

Ms E Lingen (DA, Eastern Cape) asked for clarity on how the EU funds for tourism development were distributed. How were beneficiaries selected?  What happened to the 800 million euros allocated for economic development?

The Chairperson asked for clarity on how the funds for economic development were distributed and which provinces benefited.

Mr Van Vollenhoven said individual EU member states made their own contribution for budget and programme support which may or may not have tourism support. The EU block might have support for tourism development through sector budget support. Members could direct their questions on tourism development support to Mr Van Tollie at the National Treasury. Members were free to attend the annual review where provinces and the Department’s treasury and  EU donors were present. The Department of Tourism and the EU Member States would sit down and discuss best practice on community-driven tourism.

Ms M Digkale (ANC, Limpopo) said the document seemed to be silent on agriculture and pointed out that emerging farmers were unable to export their produce to the EU.

Mr Van Vollenhoven said agriculture was one of the priorities and it was addressed in the Trade Chapter. There was budget support for agriculture. The market access for agricultural products was still being negotiated.

Ms Van Lingen asked how Members could get hold of information on how money was allocated for projects.

Mr Van Vollenhoven said this was difficult to answer because there was no central point where such information was available.

The Chairperson suggested a motion for the ratification.

Mr Adams moved for the ratification of the Revised TDCA and Ms Chen seconded the motion. The Committee then supported the ratification.

The meeting was adjourned.

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