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The 5th European Union-South Africa Summit took place in Brussels, Belgium this week. Since 2008, the European Union and South Africa have met annually to discuss bilateral, regional and global situations of common interest and concern. In the current global economic climate, South Africa needs to recalibrate trade relations with the EU. While trade data suggests a downswing in the trade relationship, the EU still constitutes a major trading partner for Pretoria, with little indication of a dramatic change in the future. The launch of the EU-South Business Forum provides a significant indicator of future strategic economic engagements around trade and investment.
Yet, for the relationship to remain productive and beneficial, the two sides will have to address how best to mitigate the deepening effects of the Euro zone crisis and the impact this has for domestic markets, especially where stronger trade and investment linkages are being considered. At the same time mutual issues of political interest cannot be ignored.
Report by the South African Foreign Policy Initiative