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Tackling Trade Challenges from an Industrial Policy Developmental Perspective


Developments in the international trade environment look set to impact on industrial policy options for many countries, including South Africa. At the global level we are passing from what may be described as an era of hegemonic multi-lateralism to one of outright mercantalism. Driven by notions of putting America first this is seeing much less tolerance for the claims of developing countries for policy space amidst demands that trade agreements be much less asymmetrical and contain more regulatory convergence with the norms established in the developed world. Brexit, meanwhile, will complicate the operation of European value chains and weaken the influence of Europe at a time when rivalry between the US and China looks set to increase. In July this year, meanwhile, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement will enter into force. Whether this realises its full potential will depend on decisions still to be taken, and in particular the extent to which it is able to lead to the creation of regional value chains to support industrial development on the continent. Rob Davies, who has recently written a short volume on these issues (available free of charge online at will speak on the implications of these issues for industrial policy in South Africa.

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