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The trade agreement between the EU and South Africa entered into force in 2000. It has enabled a small machinery manufacturer in the German region of Swabia to take advantage of new export opportunities, boost employment and share technological innovation with its trading partner.
"Without a trade agreement we would not be in South Africa," says Tobias Pauli, CEO of AERO-LIFT Vakuumtechnik GmbH. The small family business from Swabia’s Binsdorf has taken advantage of reduced customs duties and lower administrative barriers to trade.
AERO-LIFT exports vacuum lifters to South Africa, ranging from components to entire machines. These are used, for example, in industry for lifting heavy loads. Since the conclusion of the trade agreement, the export value of one product type alone alone has increased from €15,000 to €100,000. At the same time, the company is benefiting from reduced customs and administrative costs amounting to approximately 5% of the product value.
The benefits of international trade experienced by AERO-LIFT are like that of many other SMEs. Prior to the trade agreement, the value of German exports to South Africa was at about one-third of today's €9.6 billion. Imports too have almost doubled, rising to €5,9 billion in 2015.