Holland — As South Africa becomes more the focus of world attention, pressure grows on corporations and governments alike.

The 15nation U.N. Security Council has approved voluntary sanctions that include a ban on new investment in South Africa while France and Australia have initiated economic sanctions and the Canadian government has announced mild measures.

In the United States, the House approved by a 38048 vote a bill to impose limited sanctions including a ban on imports of the Krugerrand, the popular one ounce South African gold coin. Senate passage by a large margin is expected.

The president, long reluctant to employ economic measures which he says will hurt blacks, had been expected to veto. However, mounting pressure and the possibility of a veto override apparently prompted Reagan to discuss anew with his advisers how to deal with South Arica. It seemed likely he would implement parts of the sanctions bill the Krugerrand band and prohibition of bank loans unless they can be shown to contribute to the welfare of blacks in order to head off more severe congressionally imposed sanctions.

At the same time; the South African government began a public relations blitz to block economic sanctions. Deputy Foreign Minister Louis Nel called reporters to an “important” news conference.

Hinting the West could lose influence in Africa by imposing sanctions and create a political vacuum the Soviet Union would be happy to fill, he warned reform might be a casualty of disinvestment and other economic measures. The government, he said, could not implement reform and handle economic sanctions at the same time.

Trade between the United States and South Africa dropped this year.

South African exports to the United States fell to $1.07 billion in the first six months, compared to $1.51 billion in the first half of 1984. The Commerce Department attributed the drop to a decline in U.S. sales of Krugerrand.

Similarly, American exports to South Africa fell in the first half to $675 million from $1.28 billion in the same 1984 period, reflecting chiefly a drop in corn shipments and a sharp decline in the value of the rand.

South African trade with some other nations has fallen as well.

In Canada, where trade with South Africa dropped steadily from a peak of about $400 million in 1980 to a projected $250 million this year, the year old government has promised more sanctions.

The socialist government in Greece has slapped an embargo on South African meat and related products, and coal exports to Greece.

The prime ministers of Finland and Sweden also have called for mandatory sanctions. A joint statement signed by the two leaders and the former leader of Denmark and Norway called for a halt to all investments and a ban on all loans to South Africa.

Brazil, which has no substantial links with South Africa, has made a ban on petroleum and arms exports formal.

Other nations, however, maintain close economic ties with South Africa, Israel, for example, counts South Africa as its third largest trading partner. Ten Israeli companies invested more than 20 million rand in South African firms in 1983 and 1984, and trade between the two reached more than $200 million in 1983, the last period for which statistic were available.

Article extracted from this publication >>  September 13, 1985