South Africa recently signed an agreement on military cooperation with Argentina, expanding the African power's relationships with Latin America. In an e-mail interview, Dr. Lyal White, director of the Center for Dynamic Markets and senior lecturer at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, discussed South Africa's relations with Latin America.
WPR: What are South Africa's main bilateral relationships in Latin America?
Lyal White: While the relationship between South Africa and Latin American countries is improving, South Africa is still conceptually very distant from Latin America. A preferential trade agreement (PTA) exists between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mercosur. But it covers a short list of products and is of greater symbolic value than true economic importance. Economic realities tend to impede trade between South Africa and Mercosur, since South Africa is essentially competing in global markets with Brazilian and Argentine producers.