Amid mounting uncertainty on whether the Brexit deal would go through this month, businesses and economists said the delay increased uncertainty on some of South Africa’s pending agreements with the European Union (EU).
On Saturday, the British parliament voted to postpone the vote on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal.
Johnson wrote a letter to the EU requesting a delay to Britain’s exit from the bloc. He told the House of Commons that despite this delay, he was certain that Britain would depart from the EU on 31 October.
Economists said South Africa would have to wait to see the outcome of Britain’s final vote, which could see it exit the EU over the next few weeks. SA signed a trade agreement with the United Kingdom, preventing a knock-on effect on the country’s economy.
The South African government said it could have amounted to job and export losses as Britain was a key trading partner.
Economist Tinashe Kapuya said the delay in signing the deal still had a direct effect.
“How we are going to resolve the issue around making UK products to be deemed originating in our manufacturing processes,” Kapuya said.
Chairperson of Corporate SA Tebogo Khaas said a postponement wouldn’t ultimately change much.
“Either Britain is going to get out of the Brexit or it will remain, in which case, it really doesn’t change much in terms of our trade agreements with Britain as a country and Europe as a bloc,” Khaas said.
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