Focus on impact of trade and climate change

Focus on impact of trade and climate change

A roundtable discussion on Trade and Climate Change: Exploring the Impact on South African Business was held at the IDC on 23 October 2013.

A roundtable discussion on Trade and Climate Change: Exploring the Impact on South African Business was held at the IDC on 23 October 2013. The discussion was co-hosted by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS).

There is growing concern that measures already in place or potentially adopted by developed countries to combat climate change could be trade distortionary, introduce new forms of ‘green protectionism’ and/or be discriminatory. Such policy and regulatory measures may range from emissions trading schemes (for example, the EU’s deferred airlines tax) to border tax adjustments that price carbon, subsidies, new public and/or private standards (including carbon labelling schemes), taxes on maritime transportation and, among other non-tariff barriers to trade, could entail the introduction of specific legislation.

As a highly carbon-intensive economy, South Africa appears particularly vulnerable to such measures, with a substantial portion of its export basket consisting of carbon-intensive goods. From a geographical standpoint, South Africa is also disproportionately distant from major world markets, especially when compared to some of our competitors, thereby increasing the carbon footprint associated with our exports.

The purpose of this event was to explore these trade and climate linkages for South Africa, especially the risks and opportunities that arise for the business sector and how government should respond. The objective was to capture the views and concerns of industry players so as to inform the South African government’s position ahead of international negotiations, including the forthcoming UNFCCC’s COP19 in Warsaw, Poland.

The programme and presentations delivered at the meeting can be accessed below:

  • Programme Download [PDF 301kb]
  • SA’s Position on the Trade-Aspects of Climate ChangeDownload [PDF 500kb] by Dr Brendan Vickers, the dti
  • South Africa’s Vulnerability to ‘Green Protectionism’ Download [PDF 543kb] by Gaylor Montmasson-Clair, TIPS
  • Improving energy efficiency in SA industry and reducing emissions in the transition towards a low-carbon economy Download [PDF 1.8mb] by Jorge Maia, IDC


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