U.S.-South Africa Relations
The U.S. established a consulate in Cape Town in 1799. The U.S. later established diplomatic relations with South Africa in 1929 following the United Kingdom's recognition of South Africa's domestic and external autonomy within the British Empire. Since the end of apartheid and with the advent of democracy in 1994, the two countries have enjoyed a solid bilateral relationship. South Africa is a strategic partner of the U.S., particularly in the areas of health, security, and trade. The two countries share development objectives throughout Africa, and South Africa plays a key economic and political role on the African continent. The U.S. seeks opportunities for increased U.S.-South African cooperation on regional and international issues. In 2010, the U.S. and South Africa launched a strategic dialogue aimed at deepening cooperation on a range of issues of mutual interest and concern.
U.S. Assistance to South Africa
U.S. assistance focuses on improving healthcare, increasing education standards and teacher training, building capacity in agriculture to address regional food security, developing clean energy, and adapting to changing weather patterns. Improving the capacity of South Africa's security force will enable it to take a lead role in regional stability and security efforts. USAID programs seek to strengthen small- and medium-sized enterprises, create employment, improve learning and job skills, promote basic education, combat gender-based violence, and promote HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and treatment.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The U.S. and South African are major trade and investment partners, with total two-way goods trade of over $12 billion in 2017, and more than 600 U.S. firms operating in South Africa. South Africa qualifies for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The country belongs to the Southern African Customs Union, which signed a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement (TIDCA) with the U.S. The TIDCA establishes a forum for consultative discussions, cooperative work, and possible agreements on a wide range of trade issues, with a special focus on customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and trade and investment promotion. The U.S. and South Africa have a bilateral tax treaty eliminating double taxation. A bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement is in place.