U.S. Chamber Launches U.S.-South Africa Business Council

Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 7:00pm

Council is Next Step in Chamber’s Commitment to Growth, Investment in Southern Africa

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s African Business Initiative launched the U.S.-South Africa Business Council today as a formal commitment by the American business community to long-term growth and investment in the economies of southern Africa.  Joined by Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert Hormats, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President for International Affairs Myron Brilliant stressed the need to expand the commercial relationship between the two countries and the importance of South Africa as the economic hub for the entire southern region of the continent.

“The U.S. is late to the game, but there is still ample opportunity for American businesses to join companies from around the world to meet the demands of the growing consumer base in southern Africa, particularly South Africa,” said Brilliant.  “The launch of the Business Council is the next step in formalizing the U.S. business community’s commitment to not only South Africa, but also the entire region.”

“Although the South African economy has grappled with high unemployment and poverty, the door is open for U.S. firms to engage in the key sectors that will drive South Africa’s economic growth and recovery like natural resource extraction, finance, communications, energy, transportation, and infrastructure development,” he added.

The Business Council will work to expand the commercial relationship between the two countries, and highlight the critical role that South Africa plays in America’s commercial interests on the continent.

The Council will focus on a growth agenda by advancing policies in Washington that support trade with Africa; sustaining a dialogue between the U.S., South Africa and the Southern African Development Countries on a trade and investment initiative; pushing for continued clarity and increased consistency on the scoring of the equity equivalency requirement of Black Economic Empowerment; protecting intellectual property rights as a foundation for investment; and working to ease labor broker laws to allow American companies to hire temporary workers for projects that support growth in South Africa.

The Chamber, the Business Council and the broader American business community hope to jumpstart increased bilateral trade and outperform other countries already investing in the region by offering superior goods and services to the growing economy in South Africa.