Apr 08, 2019: The ratification of agreements between the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade blocs has led to a steady increase in South African exports to Brazil, the country's foreign economic representative to the South American state Shanaaz Ebrahim noted.

At the 12th Latin American Defense & Security Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, Ebrahim said statistics showed South Africa's trade deficit with Brazil had shrunk to $700 million in 2018 from $1.2 billion in 2017.

"This is thanks to the fact that we have increased our exports to Brazil by 37 percent from $483 million in 2017 to $663 million in 2018. Part of this was due to the ratification of the Sacu and Mercosur preferential trade agreement which was ratified in April 2016, where Sacu offered Mercosur tariff line items of about 1,065 product lines across 16 sectors of which 469 products are zero percent import duty-free," she said.

She said Mercosur had reciprocated by offering Sacu 1,052 product lines of which 778 products were import duty-free.

South Africa and Brazil’s membership of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) multinational agreements were also an advantage, Ebrahim added.

Twenty-one companies are showcasing South Africa’s industrial capabilities at the exhibition, which gathers international and national companies providing technologies, equipment, and services for armed forces, special forces, police, homeland security and security managers from large companies, among others.

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