Department of Trade and Industry Director General Lionel October told Parliament on Wednesday that Minister Rob Davies was working with his United Kingdom counterpart George Hollingbery to seal a post-Brexit trade regime by the first week of March.
Speaking to Parliament's portfolio committee on trade and industry, October said Davies was working double time with a technical team to ensure that South Africa would have a soft landing from the UK's exit from the European Union and its trade regime, minimising impact on trade between SA and the UK.
Brexit is expected to be finalised by March 29, and the UK's legislature has thrown out multiple deals aimed at supplementing the exit, in a political quandary that has put UK Prime Minister Theresa May against the ropes politically.
"The minister has been engaging with his counterpart in the UK have been working with a technical team to sign a deal with them by the first week of Marck," said October.
Trade and Industry chief director of regulation Niki Kruger told the portfolio committee that the UK had been meeting with South Africa and other regional trade blocs in southern Africa to iron out the details of a new trade regime with the UK.
"We met last week with the Southern African Customs Union and the United Kingdom last week and there are one or two issues that still need to be resolved. We will hold meetings on Friday and Monday to deal with this issue and hopefully close a deal by March," said Kruger.
Kruger said the deal would need to be concluded by the first week of March so that it is referred to Parliament and can be in force by the end of March to give South Africa's trade regime with the UK a smooth landing once Brexit is done.