Sihlalo obekekileyo, amalungu, neendwendwe ezibekekileyo, mandikhe ndithi gqaba gqaba nje ngendlela endibona ngayo kwezorhwebo kwihlabathi lilonke kuba ke iyinxalenye yenguqu kwezoqoqosho. Ngenxa yexesha ke ndizakuba mfutshane. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[Mr S J NJIKELANA: Hon Chairperson, members and honourable guests, let me give my brief point of view on international trade because it is part of economic change. I will not be long because of time constraints.]
However, as a precursor, I need to briefly share my views on the political economy of the international trade because trade is not merely characterised by administrative interaction, governance systems in the World Trade Organisation, series of negotiations, regulatory frameworks and the like.
Underlying factors such as domestic policies in international as well as group interests, diplomatic relations, similarities and dissimilarities of foreign policies as well as relations between rich and poor countries have a profound influence on trade. Hence our expectation that the forthcoming trade policy from the government must resonate with the country's foreign policy.
The exploitation of poor countries by richer countries, which has long assumed a global character through so-called globalisation, has, amongst a lot of global complications, resulted in endless impasses and delays, as well as consternation in the Doha Round.
Africa First, as a priority step in international relations, has to serve as a strong framework that guides us in global trade as well. This extends, as the ANC government commits itself, to the inclusion of organised labour and business in SADC, definitely, and hopefully in the Pan-African Parliament in the near future.
The current interim economic partnership agreement has the potential to fragment and weaken not only Sactu, but also SADC and Africa. The absence of a developmental dimension in the EPAs can only exacerbate the already existing skewed trade relations. The only remedy for this quagmire is a moratorium on EPA negotiations until Southern and eastern African countries have put in place adequate institutional mechanisms to deal with trade liberalisation as recommended by the AU and the various agencies of the UN, amongst other things.
The southern and eastern African countries should now focus on developing their regional markets - steps that have already been taken, as you have seen, by consolidating the gains of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Free Trade Area that will include the East African Community and SADC. I trust our country will do its best to address this matter at the current AU summit in Libya.
Since the collapse of the WTO Doha Round last year one can lament a lost opportunity to remedy the endless consternation with regard to this noble effort. South Africa's position in the Doha Round has been built on extensive and intensive national consultations within government and Parliament as well as with stakeholders, particularly in the National Economic Development and Labour Council.
It is also encouraging that New Delhi is ready to assume the Doha Round of trade talks. However, we need to be extra vigilant about the re-emergence of protectionism, which may compel solidarity and a coherent approach by developing countries.
South Africa is undoubtedly obliged to campaign for a fair global trade system by ensuring, together with others who are like-minded, that a transformed WTO and a Doha Round with progressive outcomes is guided by the current ANC Manifesto, which agitates for fairer and humane international trade and financial systems, as well as a just world order.
The DTI must be lauded for their plans to convene a South-South conference on trade. The rationale and motive behind such a conference are noble enough. I trust such a conference will provide alternative global economic thought to that of the Washington Consensus and its failed neoliberal agenda, and give rise to new centres of economic power for the benefit of the majority in the world. I trust legislators will be invited to participate in the deliberations around such a noble effort.
As to the finalisation of the trade policy, which is imminent without any doubt, there must be firm and sound resonance of the forthcoming trade policy with the Ipap as the bottom line. I repeat: as the bottom line.
But, let me express my concern about the apparent obscurity of Trade and Investment SA, Tisa, in the country - a vital institution of trade and investment - in spite of its commendable initiatives such as the one-stop investment centre, which by now I trust is providing investment-friendly services. The decrease in budget allocation of 1,3% for International Trade and Economic Development does not augur well, although the increase of 7,4% for Tisa, albeit miniscule, is encouraging.
The DTI has to transform Tisa into a dynamic and formidable institution that will effectively drive the implementation of trade policy; and Tisa must refine its interweave of promoting trade and attracting investment to the extent of a visible reduction of unemployment, as well as looking east to China, India and Russia, and Latin America, over and above the African agenda.
The same goes for the International Trade and Administration Commission, Itac, whose thankless job should not go unnoticed this time, given their noble efforts to empower our neighbours in SADC.
Unfortunately Tisa and Itac have been rather unduly economical in presenting their work progress to this Parliament, despite such successes. I am sure all members will be keen on knowing the reasons for this.
The lack of or distorted global leadership, which failed when expected to deliver solutions to address the economic crisis, must be viewed as a challenge to provide alternatives and not as a moment of despair.
The establishment of the SA Development Partnership Agency as well as the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund represents another undisputed display of leadership by South Africa. I trust that the economic cluster will not only support this, but will ensure that our President maintains them as part of our key arsenal in advancing intracontinental trade.
The ANC, once again, in its manifesto is unequivocal about saying that working together with our partners in Southern Africa results in investing in our regional economy.
Investing and trading in Africa may sound good; however, this Parliament needs to ensure that there is a code of ethical conduct and good practice for South African companies that trade and invest in Africa.
However, I will be quick to say that in the context of the 12 agreements that have been signed there is a great need for intensification of economic diplomacy in conjunction with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation so that working together more can be achieved in concluding more trade agreements.
I cannot overlook the expectation of a briefing from DTI as to the extent of integrating BBBEE in such initiatives. That is in any case contained in the export agreement.
Furthermore, a mandate framework for trade negotiations has to be formalised by this Parliament quite soon. This is to ensure formidable policy guidelines and well-structured working relations between Parliament and the government as well as the fulfilment of our parliamentary objectives of exercising oversight and engaging in international work with regard to trade negotiations in this regard. South Africa's leadership will need to be skillful at rebutting any new scramble for Africa. The market diversification strategy that is currently promoted by DTI is therefore highly commended.
The SA Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Protechnik Laboratories owe us a little bit. We need them here at some stage.
Let me conclude by saying that as long as the concluded trade agreements enhance the ANC's campaign for decent work and sustainable livelihoods we are on track. The ANC supports Budget Vote 32.