Automotive industry on the up, but sugar and poultry disappoint – dti

The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has identified the automotive industry as one of South Africa’s best performing markets, with exports rising from 1% to 10% this financial year compared to last, creating over 100 000 jobs.

Speaking to the committee of Trade and Industry in Cape Town on Monday, Lionel October, director general of the Department of Trade and Industry, said the increase in exports had raised South Africa’s profile as an auto assembler in Africa.

He said Ford Motor Company and Mercedes-Benz had invested billions into making the automotive sector as vibrant as it is. 

“The Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa expanded its Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth as part of a R3bn investment in its South African operations,” he said. 

“Mercedes Benz invested R10billion in the expansion of its East London plant. All in all, leading global vehicle manufacturers have invested R45bn into our economy, which accounted to over R175billion worth of exports in 2018.”

Interest in sugar and poultry has however trended downwards, leading to the dti to draft masterplans to protect the two industries.

“These plans are to specifically intervene and save these sectors. On sugar, we have gazetted the sugar regulation transitional arrangements which recognise the South African Farmers’ Development Association, representing small black farmers ina the industry association.”

“On poultry, duties on imports on ‘whole birds’ have been increased to 82% which is the maximum duty allowable under the World Trade Organisation commitments,” he concluded.

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