Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel says they will fight to be retained in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) when it expires in 2025.
Patel said what was key was for South Africa to get support from both the Republicans and Democrats in the US to continue to be part of Agoa.
It was worth fighting for South Africa to be retained in Agoa.
There have been proposals by some members of the US Congress for Agoa to be extended for 16 years.
South Africa hosted the Agoa summit a few weeks ago in Johannesburg, which was addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Patel co-chaired the summit with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
Cosatu has also been calling for the renewal of Agoa to keep thousands of jobs.
Patel, who was briefing the Select Committee on Trade and Industry in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday, said US lawmakers will now be briefed on the discussions at the Agoa summit that took place in Johannesburg.
This would give members of the US Congress time to express their views on the extension of Agoa.
Once most of the views of US Congress members are known, they will get an idea about the extension of Agoa.
“But the key is to get the support of both Republicans and Democrats to make this a bipartisan issue. In the same way that I tried to make the point in discussions in South Africa that, as South Africans, we need to have a common view on Agoa and be supportive of each other’s efforts to promote the extension of Agoa.
“In the US, they have up to now not turned Agoa into a political football where one party tries to score points against the other party. That’s been really helpful to us because it means that bipartisan support can be counted on.
“Of the two bills in the US Congress, one is from a Republican and the other is from a Democrat. They may have different views on the modalities, but both parties, in their public statements, have expressed support for Agoa and for the extension,” said Patel.
However, Patel told members of the select committee that it was worth fighting for the retention of Agoa.
He said South Africa wants Agoa to be renewed as early as 2024, not 2025.
The US officials were aware that South Africa wants the extension of Agoa to happen quickly, said Patel.
But South Africa will continue to lobby for the extension of Agoa, but the decision lies with the US Congress.