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South Africa turns down FTA with Turkey to protect textiles, apparel
Nov '11
South Africa has declined to accept Turkey's proposal for inking a free trade agreement (FTA) in order to protect its domestic textile and apparel industry.

The Cabinet's decision to turn down Turkey's proposal was based on the feeble state of the domestic textile and apparel industry, the South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said.

The Minister said that competition from Asian countries, mainly from China, has resulted in a loss of thousands of jobs in the country's textile and garment industry during the past 10 years.

Next to China, Turkey is a leading manufacturer and producer of textiles and garments and hence the Cabinet has rejected its proposal with an aim to safeguard the domestic industry, Mr. Davies stated.

He informed that the Government carried out a study which revealed that accepting the proposal would not be a wise move.

The Minister added that he would pay a visit to Turkey during first quarter of 2012 to discuss the prospects of working out a trade agreement that is mutually acceptable to both the countries.

South Africa is an active proponent of bolstering "South-South" trade ties, which includes negotiating preferential trade deals.

The South African Cabinet said that the free trade agreement with Turkey does not support a mutually beneficial approach to developing economic ties; rather it encourages destructive competition which would weaken South Africa's domestic industrial and employment goals.

As per the Tunis-based African Development Bank's statistics, Turkey is the fifth leading emerging market investor in Africa.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had paid a visit to South Africa last month to deliberate on mutual trade relations. During the visit, he had reiterated that Turkey's mission was to strengthen its trade ties with the African continent.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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