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Sacu to study impact of free-trade deal with East African Community

Creamer Media’s Engineering News

Sacu to study impact of free-trade deal with East African Community

By Christy van der Merwe

26 April 2010

The Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) is in the process of initiating a study of a possible free trade agreement (FTA) with the East African Community (EAC).

In a recently published tender advertisement, Sacu said that it was looking to appoint a consultant to research how a proposed FTA between Sacu and the EAC could affect the economies of the two regions, and what policy implications such an agreement would have.

The directive came after the Sacu Council of Ministers decided that the Sacu Secretariat should commission research on the EAC as a possible trade negotiating partner, while taking account of the wider regional integration processes in the Southern African region.

Increasing intraAfrica trade and supporting the continent’s integration agenda is viewed as important strategic objective for Sacu, which is the world’s oldest customs union and which is celebrating its centenary this year.

To date, Sacu has entered into a FTA with the European Free Trade Association (Efta), a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), and a Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA) with the US.

Within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) context, Sacu is acting as a unit within the SADC FTA, where it is implementing a common tariff liberalisation offer to the nonSacu SADC Member States.

Sacu is currently negotiating a PTA with India, and is negotiating an Economic Partner Agreement (EPA) with the European Union as part of the broader SADC EPA configuration.

Interested parties would need to research the following:
- the political and economic profile of EAC countries;
- provide an overview of the structure of the EAC customs union;
- present trade statistics and trade policy insight; and
- produce a "general equilibrium" analysis.

The deadline for tender submissions is Monday May 17.

The EAC comprises the Republic of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Burundi, and is headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania.

Sacu comprises South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland, and is headquartered in Windhoek in Namibia.