Too soon to tell coronavirus impact on trade, says commissioner


International Trade Administration Commissioner Meluleki Nzimande told Fin24 that the trade administration body would follow the lead of government and Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel when when responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to reporters during a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said a special Cabinet meeting would be held on Sunday to discuss each Cabinet portfolio's response to coronavirus, which would inform government's overall intervention.

Coronavirus has rocked markets globally. Shaken by the virus, among other factors, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange posted its worst day since 1997 on Thursday, with the rand breaching the R16.50/$ mark. Reports indicate that even though countries are not stopping the trade of goods, the pandemic may have a chilling effect on shipping.

However, Nzimande told Fin24 that the question of taking precautions with imports and the countries that they come from was a policy issue to be discussed with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC).

"The role of ITAC is to provide technical advice to the DTIC on trade policy related matters, administer tariffs and defensive measures guided by domestic and international law. The department that has to lead government in terms of the country’s trade policy position is the DTIC," Nzimande said.

Nzimande said it was too soon to tell the degree of impact, if any at all, that the coronavirus pandemic would have on trade volumes, especially when it came to South African exports to other markets.

"ITAC conducts trade monitoring on a long-term basis and since the coronavirus is a recent occurrence, there is currently no trade analysis yet with regards its impact on trade. The impact will however be taken into account in the future when the trade monitoring exercise is undertaken," Nzimande said.

Nzimande told Fin24 that ITAC had not received any communication from other countries of precautions on South African exports.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders