US President Donald Trump is a deeply odious man, but one whose ire you want to avoid. Particularly if you are a country at the southern tip of Africa that has preferential access to US markets, to which you export R112bn worth of goods and services every year. Expropriation without compensation is just the kind of issue to excite US rhetoric to damage SA’s interests and put that trade at risk. The US is one of the few countries that SA has a strong trading surplus with. We export 80% more to the US than we import from it. It is our third-largest export market after Germany and China. But 36% of those exports are covered by the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa), a Bush-junior policy that allows designated African countries to export to the US without any of the usual trade restrictions, until 2025.Many SA industries take advantage of Agoa, from our vehicle and components industry (R18.5bn worth of qualifying exports in 2017) to agricultural products (R3.9bn). US exports ten...

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