South Africa’s stance on Ukraine is unlikely to affect trade with the US

Trade relations between the US and South Africa are unlikely to be affected, despite the country’s decision to abstain from the UN General Assembly vote to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

More than 140 countries of the 193-member UN General Assembly body, including the US, voted to reprimand Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, in a landmark vote aimed at isolating Russia politically.

Thirty-five members, including SA and China, abstained and five countries – including Russia, Syria and Belarus – voted against the resolution.

Despite the decision to abstain, the Department of International Relations (Dirco) said South Africa remains deeply concerned about the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and its regional and international socio-economic consequences.

“While we agree with and support Member States’ efforts to bring the situation in Ukraine to the attention of the international community, South Africa believes that more attention should have been paid to bring the parties closer to the dialogue to bring.

“For South Africa, the text in its current form could drive a deeper wedge between the parties rather than help resolve the conflict.”

Dirco said South Africa believes that the UN – especially in the context of emergency special sessions – should be used as a platform to build bridges, address the disagreements and provide recommendations and support to the parties to work with the spirit to make compromises.

“Unfortunately, the text before us does not. South Africa would also have preferred an open and transparent process to negotiate the resolution.”

Business Day reports that despite South Africa’s abstention, a top US diplomat said trade ties will continue as both countries ultimately want peace in Ukraine.

South Africa’s abstention also does not affect the African Growth and Opportunity Act, otherwise known as the Agoa Agreement, a trade program designed to forge stronger commercial ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.

The law establishes a preferential trade agreement between the US and selected countries in the Sub-Saharan region.

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