A Union Jack flag flutters as Big Ben clock tower is seen behind at the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain September 11, 2019. REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE
A Union Jack flag flutters as Big Ben clock tower is seen behind at the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain September 11, 2019. REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE

SA has finalised a trade deal with the UK ahead of the Brexit deadline.

The UK is due to leave the EU with or without a deal at the end of October. With no deal in place, Britain would immediately fall outside the EU’s trade regime.

The Southern African Customs Union (Sacu), of which SA is a member state, had an “in principle” agreement with the UK to replicate the existing economic partnership agreement the customs union has with the EU. Sacu includes SA, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini (Swaziland).

Failure to conclude the arrangement would have have meant new tariffs on 114 tariff lines of export interest to SA, notably on vehicles, sugar and textiles and clothing.

The UK is SA’s fifth-largest trading partner. Trade between the UK and SA increased from R63.7bn in 2012 to R106.2bn in 2018.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za