South African trade has been showing a growth increase in recent years, from R221 billion in 2001 to over R906 billion in 2014, which is equivalent to an annual average rate of 13%. The agricultural sector’s exports have increased even more rapidly, recording an annual growth rate of 14% between 2001 and 2014. The European Union (EU) has been South Africa’s traditional export market since the signing of the Trade Development Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) between South Africa and the EU. In recent years, the South African export share has been moving towards the African and Asian markets. The growth towards these markets has been driven by income growth, population growth, the formal retail evolution, and the establishment of new political ties in the East. This paper concludes that South African exports are mainly driven by economic factors, although political relations also complement the export growth.


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