South Africa is an emerging economy. A large part of the population lives in poverty. The EU is by far South Africa`s main development partner and provides a significant share of the external aid it receives. The asymmetrical nature of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) means that African signatories are not required to react with the same degree of market openness as the EU. In 2015, South Africa passed an investment protection law following the end of most bilateral investment agreements with EU countries. Established in 2015, the EU Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Southern Africa offers a coherent approach to the issues of concern to European companies investing in the region. Since the EU and South Africa concluded a Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) in 1999, the two sides have maintained strong and growing trade relations. In June 2016, the EU and South Africa signed the Southern Africa Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC EPA), which governs merchandise trade between the two regions, with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland, which governs merchandise trade between the two regions, replacing the TDCA`s trade provisions. DTI uses strong relationships between governments and mechanisms to promote a development agenda in Africa focused on identifying and implementing joint investment projects in partner countries; Promote trade between the two parties; coordination of technical cooperation and South Africa`s support for political and institutional development in partner countries; promote the development of cross-border infrastructure, particularly on the basis of the SDI methodology; promote regional integration by strengthening and consolidating the South African Customs Union (SACU) free trade agreement and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Agreement; and negotiate investment protection and economic cooperation agreements. During apartheid, South Africa`s foreign trade and investment were hit by sanctions and boycotts from other countries that were ideologically opposed to apartheid. In 1970, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 282 imposing a voluntary arms embargo against South Africa, which was extended by subsequent resolutions 418 and 591, which declared the embargo mandatory. In 1978, in South Africa, loans were banned by the U.S. Export-Import Bank, followed in 1983 by a ban on IMF lending.
In 1983, OPEC imposed an oil embargo, which was strengthened by Iran in 1979. Since the end of apartheid, foreign trade in South Africa has increased following the lifting of several sanctions and boycotts imposed to end apartheid. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (DTI) is authorized to regulate, ban or ration imports into South Africa in the national interest, but most goods can be imported unrestricted into South Africa.