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Private sector body formed on EU-SADC negotiations

Namibia Economist, Namibia

Private sector body formed on EU-SADC negotiations

Written by Staff Reporters

23 March 2007

An independent private sector body calling itself the Business Trade Forum EU Southern Africa (BTFES) has been inaugurated with the aim of establishing dialogue between business communities and the political leaders in the EU and SADC.

The BTFES met in Gaborone, Botswana, parallel to the EU-SADC Senior Officials Meeting on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations.

It said in a statement that it considers the establishment of the EPA between EU and SADC a key priority and would like to bring the input and expertise of the private sector to help address the challenges confronting these negotiations, future trade relations and the development of business between the two regions.

“The successful completion of the negotiations is crucial for business. Priority areas for the Forum are: Agricultural Market Access, Industrial Market Access, Trade Facilitation, Services and Sustainable Economic Development and Implementation and Monitoring of the EPA,” the statement said.

The BTES said it recognises the impact of the EPA on the private sector and seeks to develop an effective working relationship with negotiators from both the EU and SADC in order to expedite the speedy conclusion of the negotiations.