The European Union has not agreed to include trade concessions made at the Swakopmund negotiations in the interim economic partnership agreement, but intends to look at the rules of origin provisions to prevent the breakup of the Southern African Customs Unions
South Africa has no right to enforce ’punishment’ on the other Southern African Customs Union members for signing an interim economic partnership agreement with the European Union, an economist says.
There has long been talk that the US was preparing to walk away from talks on the proposed agreement, and the speculation finally ended last month when the US government announced that it would not revive negotiations.
The US government said yesterday it would not revive talks on a free trade agreement with southern African countries.
Thailand is eager to engage SA on a fully fledged free trade agreement (FTA) with the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry intends to embark on a study into the potential for a free-trade agreement between the Southern African Customs Union and Turkey.
The signing of a finalized economic partnership agreement (EPA) between the European Union and southern African countries seems imminent-despite regional trade fragmentation remaining a danger.
South Africa, Namibia and Angola have sent the European Union a letter — on an official South African letterhead and signed by the three countries’ ambassadors — reiterating concern about the interim economic partnership agreement and urging the EU to allow more time before the pact is signed.
The European Commission has made a major concession in trade talks with the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu), offering a deal that should avert the break-up of the customs union. It proposed a tariff deal that would align the bloc’s controversial Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the bilateral trade agreement under which SA trades with the EU. If accepted, the offer would essentially allow Sacu to maintain its common external tariff and keep the customs union intact.
Global euphoria over the election of Barack Obama as US President George Bush’s successor has been tempered somewhat by the realisation that the Democrats have not historically been overly keen on free trade.
Several hundred product lines, mostly in the agricultural, agro-processing and fishing sectors in South Africa, may face increased competition from the European Union.
Institutional development is considered important in empowering the Southern African Customs Union’s (Sacu’s) secretariat to play a significant role in regional policy development and the associated policy-making structures.
A high-ranking government official has hinted that the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) may resume free trade talks with the US following the election of Democratic candidate Barack Obama to America’s high office. Trade and Industry Director-General, Tshediso Matona, says Obama’s election can result in a mutually beneficial trade term with the US.
Technical issues and demands by the EU such as the automatic extension to the EC of future trade benefits given to third countries, export taxes, the integrity of the common external tariff of Sacu, the movement of goods between members of the proposed free trade area and infant industry protection are Sacu’s major concerns.
The Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) council of ministers is gathering in Windhoek today for a meeting that is likely to be dominated by the acrimonious Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union (EU).
Policy paralysis in the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) is compounding problems for the region’s struggling clothing and textiles industry.
The Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Duke Lefhoko, has urged manufacturers to widen their marketing scope beyond the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), given the impending new trade arrangements that Botswana is negotiating with other countries.
It will be critical in the coming months to mobilise resistance to the implementation of the Interim EPA in its current format and thereby strengthen the Namibian Government’s hand not to sign a final EPA with the EU. Namibia should also link up with African and international campaigns against EPAs, which have emerged in the past few years. The battle is not lost but there is little time left to prevent EPAs from becoming a new and powerful tool to promote EU interests at the expense of Africa’s development needs. A new publication from the Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI).
Business chambers from southern Africa believe that talk of a single Southern African Development Community (SADC) Customs Union - that would replace the Southern African Customs Unions (SACU) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) - is premature until a SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) is fully in place.