The European Union/South Africa Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement : decision-making, participation and perceived economic impacts
The European Union-South Africa Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (EU/SA TDCA), signed in October 1999, is viewed by some in South Africa as not only one of the most important trade and development agreements entered into by the 'new' South African goverrunent, but also a significant agreement for setting precedents for other bi-lateral trade and development pacts between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states. This thesis considers two major issues related to the EU/SA TDCA. First, it describes and evaluates the structures that supported the South African side of the TDCA decision-making process. Second, it discusses the potential economic impact of the agreement on South Africa and part of southern African. Prior to the election of the 'new' South African government in 1994, the majority of South Africa's population was excluded - both in terms of access to decision-making structures and from economic prosperity. By exploring the TDCA, the thesis provides a window through wl-dch to examine contemporary access to decision-making processes in South Africa and the likelihood of the TDCA promoting economic prosperity for sections of southern African society, particularly the 'traditionally excluded'. Interviews with key actors who helped formulate the TDCA provide information that enabled the evaluation of the TDCA decision-making process and highlighted potential economic 'winners' and 'losers'. Interviewing representatives of the South African wine and textile sectors provided an opportunity to examine in more detail the likely impact of the agreement and decision-making processes, associated to the TDCA, within South Africa. The results indicate that an overriding message of this thesis is one of complexity. The description of the structures that underpinned the EU/SA TDCA portrayed complex relationships between decision-making 'actors'. In evaluating the inclusivity of the policy formulation process, there was a lack of consensus over who had been included or excluded. Likewise, the identification of potential economic 'winners' and 'losers' proved to be somewhat problematic.