Regional Trade Forum

Chairperson:             Johan van Niekerk (Africa Trade Compliance Manager – Cummins Africa)

Vice-Chairperson:    Len van Driel (Manager: Certification, Standards and Regulations: Africa – Caterpillar Africa)

The Forum enjoys representation from SARS, the dti and Customs at meetings. Topics that are addressed include energy, the electricity crisis, research and development incentives and taxation laws. The Forum keeps an active watch on trade blockages and hurdles with the intention of elevating this to government level. In addition, proposed new legislation is monitored and submissions made to government. The Forum fulfils a vital role in monitoring trade issues.


  1. Keeping abreast of trade relations/developments which could impact members.
  2. Dialogue and relationship building with the dti and other relevant government organisations.
  3. Monitoring enforcement and compliance initiatives of government which will impact U.S. business.
  4. Monitoring and communication of Regulatory and Legislative developments which impact members.

Past Speakers have included:

  • Pieter Dingemans, National Practice Leader: Trade Credit at Marsh Africa, on “Mitigating the Risks when exporting to Africa”
  • Duane Newman, Managing Director at Cova Advisory & Associates, on an update on incentives programmes in South Africa
  • Philip Wyllie, consultant at the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) on “Logistics and infrastructure in Southern Africa”
  • Jed Michaletos, Chief Officer: Customs & Excise at SARS, and Erich Kieck, Group Executive: Customs Strategy and Policy at SARS, on ‘An update on South African customs”
  • Darryl Bernstein, Partner & Baker McKenzie, on “Trade Compliance in Africa”
  • Brent Omdahl, Senior Deputy Commercial Officer at the U.S. Commercial Service, on Trade Tools to access African markets.
  • Liz Whitehouse, Director at Whitehouse & Associates, and Duncan Bonnet, Director at Whitehouse & Associates, on “Developing corridors in Southern and East Africa: Opportunities, Obstacles and Threats”
  • Catherine Grant Makokera, Senior Associate at Tutwa Consulting, on an update on trade blocks in Africa
  • Matthew Stern, CEO at DNA Economics, on trade in services
  • Graham Thompson, Africa Team Leader for Global Markets at EY, on “Doing the necessary: Closing the Africa intra-trade gaps”

Copies of these presentations can be accessed here.

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