The South African government is launching a major drive to boost export sales and put the brakes on the recent slowdown.
Export consultants have been invited to tender for research into how to boost the growth of the jewellery, clothing and textile industries.
Consultants will be asked to pinpoint strengths, weaknesses and problems in each industry.
The government's department of trade and industry will then use this to produce a strategy to boost exports.
But industry experts are critical of the move, saying other avenues have not yet been explored.
"South Africa's new free trade agreements with the European Union and the South African Development Community as well as Washington's African Growth and Opportunity Act have not yet been put fully into practice," said one expert.