Some matters were yet to be finalised but the bulk of the thorny issues that have delayed finalisation of the talks have been resolved, he said on Tuesday.
Outstanding issues in the tough negotiations, which have lasted about seven years, include agricultural safeguards, final wording on export taxes and geographic indicators. Mr Carim was hopeful that these could be finalised in the next few weeks.
The talks have been difficult, with South Africa objecting to the EU’s demands for a prohibition on export taxes, for most favourable nation status and what it saw as a lack of give and take, especially over more access for its agricultural and agro-processed goods.
Mr Carim said the outcome was more favourable for South Africa than the EU’s original offer. It had gained more access for its agricultural goods while the EU had won recognition for geographic indicators such as “champagne”.