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Southern Africa: Free trade area between SACU and EU

The Namibian, Windhoek

Southern Africa: Free Trade Area Between SACU And EU

23 March 2007

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, has been instructed by Cabinet to table a trade agreement between southern Africa and the European Union in the National Assembly for ratification.

The negotiations for a Free Trade Area (FTA) between the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) took place over six rounds between May 2003 to August 2005.

Namibia signed the Sacu/EFTA agreement on July 14 2006 in Gaborone, Botswana.

The agreement comprises of the general provisions and scope, and the annexes deal with specific issues of territorial application, agriculture, processed agricultural products, industrial products, fish and marine products, rules of origin, mutual administrative cooperation on customs matters and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, the latter relating to exports like table grapes and meat products.

Cabinet also instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present the instrument of ratification to the Sacu Secretariat, which is housed in Windhoek.

Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa are members of Sacu, the oldest customs union in the world, which was founded in 1910.