Well, that is a new one for me. This policy was strategically formulated to grow the domestic economy, to address South Africa's developmental goals. It can be seen as a vehicle to integrate the African economy and to accelerate intra-African trade. In this regard, the committee is of the view that the objective of creating policy space and accelerating intra-African trade will benefit from the diversification of trade relations with the United States, US-US, South-South and, of course, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Brics, and the Asian countries. So what we are saying is that this is the first explicit South African trade policy and strategic framework and that it is underpinning the Industrial Policy Action Plan, which works with the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan.
Agricultural issues have been effectively addressed here so that we address them in a manner that will accelerate and bring back the growth of agro- industry itself. The complementary tools of tariffs for creating a business environment for economic growth include infrastructure development with respect to investment, which is also aligned with the trade.
We realised that the old, the previous or the former generation bits were not suitable. In fact, East and West, North and South all agree on that principle. So, what we are looking for is a new approach to the agreements, that is, the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, which will provide a domestic regulatory framework.
Competition is certainly looked at very seriously and we are looking at nontariff tools - not only addressing this on a tariff basis. Of course, we realise, and so does the rest of Africa, that industrialisation is a complementary activity. We need to work together and there is broad agreement that all countries in Africa will do so. That includes, of course, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community, the Southern African Development Community, the Comesa-EAC-SADC Free Trade Area agreement - the tripartite agreement that was launched. When I say it was launched, it means it was germinated. The initiative was there and we are still negotiating the final phases of this. One thing is clear, and that is that it is absolutely important that we work together on this if we are going to succeed as a region.
With respect to all our international agreements, South Africa is not ignoring traditional ties, but is simply saying, let us diversify the trade basket. One of the issues the committee made very, very clear is that we need to shift the investment policy away from the first-generation bilateral investments to a more comprehensive domestic investment framework. The Department of Trade and Industry should also strengthen efforts to promote exports and investments through active participation in strategically located exhibitions and working with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation to ensure that we can provide a platform to sell our products here.
Regional integration is imperative for the long-term growth of South Africa in achieving its developmental goals and the harmonisation of trade and other related policies within the Southern African Customs Union. The committee recognised that there was a need for the realignment of global policies and a shift in trading patterns. We cannot ignore the shift that is taking place.
Finally, the committee would like to extend to the Minister and the Department of Trade and Industry thanks for its active co-operation. I would certainly also like to thank all members of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry for their active participation in producing and bringing to this House robust, sound legislation and oversight reports. I thank you. [Applause.]
There was no debate.