In close collaboration with the US Consulate in Durban and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub hosted a Regional Export and Trade Facilitation Workshop at the Sun Coast Conference Center in Durban on April 15. Over 90 participants came to the event, including the South African business chambers, the business and manufacturing communities, regional traders, and local government officials.
The workshop covered the opportunities manifest across Southern Africa to increase regional trade, with special focus on the export potential offered by the vast US market. Of particular interest to KwaZulu-Natal are the growing export opportunities to the United States for agribusiness and processed food producers, as well as for apparel and footwear manufacturers.
SA Trade Hub experts presented national and multilateral initiatives underway across the region to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods. Vital aspects of this include the development of National Single Windows for trade facilitation, establishment of World Trade Organization National Enquiry Points (NEPs) and trade portals, and improved interagency coordination to increase cross-border trade.
Highlights of the workshop included a moving presentation by Tsonga Footwear, based in Pietermaritzburg, whose unique business model features community development and an overarching commitment to brand integrity as core company values. Tsonga, through support from the SA Trade Hub, participated in the MAGIC Las Vegas apparel and footwear show in February of this year, exhibiting at the Footwear News (FN) pavilion, and is seeking to reenter the US market after a seven-year absence. Tsonga’s vision, experience with the global market, and business leads gained at MAGIC provided insight into the opportunities as well as the requirements of exporting from South Africa to the United States.