Greater commercial co-operation between South Africa and the USA was the aim of a trade mission from the world’s most powerful nation at SAITEX 2017 and Africa's Big 7.

The US Commercial Service is at the event for the first time looking for local partners to develop an import-export deal between the two countries which has already created an estimated 65,000 South African jobs.

The delegation is representing eight US firms which all produce consumable goods.

“South Africa already has a trade agreement with the US, it’s called the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA),” said Sanjay Harryparshad, trade delegate (pictured).

“This offers duty-free access to both markets for some products and was instituted in 2000, but it expires in 2020. It was, to some extent, bought in to counteract the high cost of South Africa’s ports.

“Durban, for instance, is the most expensive in the world. However, the agreement is not being used to its full potential. Just 165 items out of the 10,000 covered have been taken in. But this has already created 65,000 jobs her. So, greater usage could help to alleviate some of the socio-economic problems in South Africa.”

The US delegation said its major aim was to obtain distributors to partner with during its time at the show.

“The real benefit we have found is that opportunity to talk to fellow exhibitors as we are on a huge learning curve here,” said Mr Harryparshad.

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