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The benefits of manufacturing to economic development, job creation and prosperity are widely accepted. In SA, manufacturing is a driver of tertiary education, contributes 12% of total jobs and provides the base load and scale for key infrastructure utilities such as electricity, rail and municipalities. Manufacturing possesses important multiplier effects in terms of value addition to the economy, job creation, export earnings and tax revenue generation. It helps to develop world-class mining equipment and capabilities, it processes SA’s natural resources and drives innovation. But its positive contribution is under threat and declining. Despite SA’s current trade surplus, our manufacturing sector is experiencing a trade deficit. Since 2002 manufacturing imports have exceeded manufacturing exports, and manufacturing as a percentage contribution to GDP declined from 24% in 1980 to just under 13% in 2016, with increased competition from imports as one of the driving factors as import...

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