International Affairs

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International Affairs

The International Affairs Department, within the Division of External Affairs, is primarily responsible for maintenance and strengthening of the South African sugar industry's relationship with other SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) countries with the aim of generating consensus positions in the SADC Technical Committee on Sugar on how to position the SADC sugar industries and non sugar producing countries globally in a context of trade distortions in the world sugar market. The Technical Committee on Sugar is a body responsible for the smooth implementation of the SADC Sugar Cooperation Agreement (Annex VII to the SADC Trade Protocol) which has been in force since April 2001. It provides for (i) market access into Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) in the form of duty-free sugar quotas allocated each year to non-SACU SADC surplus sugar producing countries and (ii) cooperation in areas of common interest between SADC sugar producing countries with the aim of developing efficient and competitive sugar industries in the region.

The objectives of the SADC Sugar Cooperation Agreement are:

  • To promote production and consumption of sugar and sugar-based products in SADC in accordance to fair trade and orderly marketing conditions, in anticipation of freer global trade;

  • To facilitate sharing of information, research and training with a view to improving efficiency of growers, millers and refiners of sugar in SADC;

  • To provide temporary measures that will prevent destructive competition in the region as long as there are global trade distortions;

  • To facilitate development of small and medium sugar producers;

  • To create stable market conditions that encourage rehabilitation; and development of all sugar industries with a view to facilitate foreign direct investment and create employment

The Department further evaluates the impact to the industry of the government trade negotiating agenda which includes bilateral, regional and multilateral trade engagements, and then formulates and promotes industry positions that consider long-term benefits of the trade arrangements to the industry.

As the industry is one of the major regional and global players, the Department is responsible for the promotion and protection of the image and trade interests of the industry abroad through participation in the International Sugar Organization (ISO) and facilitation of the industry's participation in the Global Sugar Alliance (GSA) activities.