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South African trade policy matters


  • Lawrence Edwards
  • Robert Lawrence


South African trade policy has exerted a major influence on the composition and aggregate growth of trade. In the Apartheid period, South Africa developed a comparative advantage in capital-intensive primary and manufactured commodities partly because of its natural resource endowments, but also because the pattern of protection was particularly detrimental to exports of non-commodity manufactured goods. By contrast, trade liberalization from 1990 not only increased imports, but by reducing both input costs and the relative profitability of domestic sales also boosted exports. This evidence suggests that additional trade liberalization and policies that afford South African firms access to inputs at world prices could well be part of the strategy to enhance export diversification. Copyright (c) 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2008 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence Edwards & Robert Lawrence, 2008. "South African trade policy matters," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 585-608, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:16:y:2008:i:4:p:585-608

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Amelia Santos-Paulino & A. P. Thirlwall, 2004. "The impact of trade liberalisation on exports, imports and the balance of payments of developing countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 50-72, February.
    2. Lawrence Edwards & Phil Alves, 2006. "South Africa'S Export Performance: Determinants Of Export Supply," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 74(3), pages 473-500, September.
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    5. Philippe Aghion & Matias Braun & Johannes Fedderke, 2008. "Competition and productivity growth in South Africa," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 741-768, October.
    6. Stephen S. Golub & Janet Ceglowski, 2002. "South African Real Exchange Rates And Manufacturing Competitiveness," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 70(6), pages 1047-1075, September.
    7. Bahmani-Oskooee, Mohsen & Niroomand, Farhang, 1998. "Long-run price elasticities and the Marshall-Lerner condition revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 101-109, October.
    8. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
    9. Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee, 1998. "Cointegration Approach to Estimate the Long-Run Trade Elasticities in LDCs," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 89-96.
    10. Edwards, Lawrence & Golub, Stephen S., 2004. "South Africa's International Cost Competitiveness and Exports in Manufacturing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1323-1339, August.
    11. Lawrence Edwards, 2005. "Has South Africa Liberalised Its Trade?," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(4), pages 754-775, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:taf:wjabxx:v:18:y:2017:i:3:p:380-392 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2013. "Can the Doha Round Be a Development Round? Setting a Place at the Table," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century, pages 91-124 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Torfinn Harding & Jørn Rattsø, 2010. "Industrial labour productivities and tariffs in South Africa," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 18(3), pages 459-485, July.
    4. Bernard Njindan Iyke & Sin-Yu Ho, 2017. "The Real Exchange Rate, the Ghanaian Trade Balance, and the J-curve," Journal of African Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 380-392, July.
    5. Edwards, Lawrence J & Garlick, Robert, 2008. "Trade flows and the exchange rate in South Africa," MPRA Paper 36666, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Njindan Iyke, Bernard & Ho, Sin-Yu, 2016. "Nonlinear Effects of Exchange Rate Changes on the South African Bilateral Trade Balance," MPRA Paper 81364, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Bhorat, Haroon & Hirsch, Alan & Kanbur, Ravi & Ncube, Mthuli, 2014. "Economic Policy in South Africa: Past, Present, and Future," Working Papers 180150, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.

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