Following the denunciation of most bilateral investment agreements with EU countries, South Africa passed an Investment Protection Act in 2015. Established in 2015, the EU Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Southern Africa offers a coherent approach to issues of interest to European companies investing in the region. South Africa already signed a major free trade agreement with the European Union in 1999. This agreement not only had a lasting impact on South Africa itself, but it also prepared the necessary conditions for the EU (and EFTA) to work towards getting African countries to sign further liberalisation of trade and investment policies over the next decade, notably through the EU-ACP EPA negotiation process. South Africa has signed numerous agreements with its trading partners in recent years. The country is also a beneficiary of a number of non-reciprocal trade agreements, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the Generalized System of Preferences. South Africa`s main trading partners are China, the United States, Germany, India, Great Britain and Saudi Arabia. South Africa is the EU`s largest trading partner in Africa. Their exports to the EU have increased and diversified, moving from mainly commodity-based products to a more diversified export profile, including industrial products.
In 2019, the African Union launched the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and established an internal market for goods and services in 54 countries, making it the largest free trade area in the world by number of countries. Germany, the United States, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Spain are among South Africa`s main international trading partners.  The main export products are maize, diamonds, fruit, gold, metals and minerals, sugar and wool. Machinery and transportation account for more than a third of the value of the country`s imports. Other imports include chemicals, industrial goods and much more, which are found mainly in other hot countries, mainly in Spanish countries. For government policy reasons, the South African government is working to further open its market in order to increase trade and develop more competitive domestic industries. However, in 2006, the South African government made exceptions to this approach in order to protect the labour-intensive garment industry. During 2020, the South African authorities adopted emergency measures to limit all freight and passenger traffic due to the Covid 19 pandemic; These have been partially removed. Since the EU and South Africa concluded a Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) in 1999, the two sides have enjoyed a strong and growing trade relationship.
In June 2016, the EU and South Africa – along with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland – signed the Southern African Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC EPA), which governs trade in goods between the two regions, replacing the trade provisions of the TDCA. ITTIs use strong relationships and mechanisms between governments to promote a development agenda in Africa focused on identifying and implementing joint investment projects in partner countries. trade promotion; coordinate South Africa`s technical cooperation and assistance to support political and institutional development in partner countries; promote cross-border infrastructure development, in particular on the basis of the IDI methodology; promoting regional integration through the strengthening and consolidation of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Agreement; and negotiation of investment protection and economic cooperation agreements. .