Faizel Patel
Senior Digital Journalist
2 minute read
4 Mar 2022
10:33 am

South Africa’s stance on Ukraine unlikely to affect trade with USA

Faizel Patel

SA's abstention from the UN vote will also not affect the Agoa agreement.

Photo: iStock

Trade relations between the US and South Africa is unlikely to be affected despite the country’s decision to abstain from the UN General Assembly vote to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

More than 140 countries of the 193-member body of the UN General Assembly including the US voted to rebuke Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, in a historic vote aimed at isolating Russia politically.

Thirty-five members, including SA and China, abstained and five countries – including Russia, Syria and Belarus – voted against the resolution.

Despite the decision to abstain from the vote, the International Relations Department (Dirco) said South Africa remains deeply concerned by the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and the regional and international socio-economic implications.

“While we agree with, and support the efforts taken by Member States to bring to the attention of the international community the situation in Ukraine, South Africa feels that greater attention should have been paid to bringing the sides closer to dialogue.

“For South Africa, the text in its current form could drive a deeper wedge between the parties rather than contributing to a resolution of the conflict.”

Dirco said South Africa believes the UN – especially in the context of Emergency Special Sessions – should be used as a platform to build bridges, address the divergence of views, and provide recommendations and support for the parties to engage with the spirit of compromise.

“Unfortunately, the text before us does not do that. South Africa would have also preferred an open and transparent process to negotiate the resolution.”

Business Day reports that despite South Africa’s abstention, a US top diplomat said trade relations will continue as ultimately both countries want peace in the Ukraine.

South Africa’s abstention will also not affect the African Growth and Opportunity Act also known as the Agoa agreement, a trade program meant to establish stronger commercial ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.

The act establishes a preferential trade agreement between the US and selected countries in the sub-Saharan region.

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