As part of the DFID-funded South Africa Trade and Poverty Programme and its objective to promote informed dialogue on South Africa's trade policy amongst key stakeholders, TIPS in 2005 implemented a seminar series under the auspices of Nedlac. These seminars provided a platform for government and civil society representatives (business, labour and broader social interest groups) to discuss critical issues concerning the role of trade policy in fostering poverty reduction and human development in South Africa.
Dr. Lawrence Edwards of the University of Cape Town presented his and Tijl van de Winkel's work on the market disciplining effects of trade liberalisation and regional import penetration on South African manufacturing. His research advances existing empirical work in several ways. First, it uses detailed sector-level tariff data as one of the indicators of changes in economic openness. Calculating tariff levels for 26 manufacturing sectors between 1988 and 2002 using both scheduled tariff rates and collection duties, the research tests the robustness of the relationship between tariff liberalisation and mark-ups to different measures of tariff protection. Edwards also presented their analysis of the impact of regional imports on mark-ups in the manufacturing sector between 1988 and 2002.