INTERIM ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE SADC EPA STATES, ON THE ONE PART, AND THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY AND ITS MEMBER STATES, ON THE OTHER PART
JOINT TEXT INITIALLED ON 23 NOVEMBER 2007 IN BRUSSELS
Agreement "initialled" with Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique on 23 November 2007
Although the EU Commission prefers to call this an agreement with “SADC”, few SADC countries are actually involved in it and the agreement not only divides SADC, but also SACU, the customs union between South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, as only the last three members agree with it.
Description of the agreement by the European Commission
“On November 23 in Brussels senior negotiators from the European Commission and the Southern African Development Community initialled (agreed by the negotiators, but not yet signed by the governments) an interim Economic Partnership Agreement including a WTO-compatible market access schedule and provisions on development co-operation and other issues. This agreement will apply initially to the EU side and to Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique on the SADC side. Angola made clear its wish to join as soon as possible. SouthAfrica and Namibia will determine their participation in the agreement in the coming days. EU and SADC negotiators confirmed that the agreement was open to other parties in the region to join when they wished. Both sides agreed to continue negotiations towards a full EPA in 2008 and a rendezvous clause is included in the agreement to this effect.
The agreement allows for 100% liberalisation by value by the EU as of 1 January 2008 (with transition periods for rice and sugar) and 86% liberalisation by value by Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. For 44 sensitive tariff lines liberalisation is envisaged by 2015. Three further lines will not be liberalised until 2018. The tariff offer from Mozambique covers 80.5% of trade, most of which is liberalised at entry into force. Some 100 additional tariff lines will be liberalised by 2018.
Exclusions focus on agricultural goods and some processed agricultural goods and are based chiefly on the need to protect infant industries or sensitive products in these countries.
A Development Cooperation Chapter has been included which covers cooperation on trade in goods, supply-side competitiveness, business enhancing infrastructure, trade in services, trade related issues, Institutional capacity building, and fiscal adjustments. Parties agreed to negotiate on Competition and Government procurement only when adequate capacity has been built.”