Inversely Correlated? Comparing EU-27 and Chinese Exports to South Africa, 2007-2018

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Against the background of literature that assumes mutual exclusivity of European and Chinese access to African markets, this article conducted an assessment of European and Chinese exports to South Africa over the 2007-2018 period. Findings indicate that Chinese exports to South Africa have not supplanted total EU exports to South Africa, unlike the case with the country's other previous leading trade partners; however, in this timeframe, China's rate of growth has outgrown that of Europe, and some products which were principally sourced from the EU were subsequently exported more by the People's Republic of China (PRC), indicating that if the present trajectory continues, China will replace Europe as the principal export partner of South Africa within little over a decade. The onset of Brexit, with the UK being a key trade partner for South Africa within the EU, will expedite this trend by diminishing the gap between EU and PRC exports to South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-314
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Foreign Affairs Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • China-South Africa relations
  • EU-China relations
  • EU-South Africa relations
  • Trade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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