Entry into force of the Economic Partnership Agreement between EU and 6 SADC countries.
The new Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and 6 SADC countries has entered into force this week, for the 5 SACU countries of the group.
It took more than a decade to reach this important deal between the EU and the SADC EPA group which consists of the 5 SACU (Southern African Customs Union) countries, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland + Mozambique. Angola has an opting-in option and was part of the negotiation. The negotiations were formally concluded in July 2014 and the Agreement signed by all parties on 10 June 2016 in Kasane, Botswana. Botswana was, then, the first country to ratify, followed by the 4 other SACU countries. Mozambique is in the ratification process.
Under the SADC EPA, the EU guarantees a 100 % duty-free/quota-free access to the European market for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland, whereas nearly 99% of South-African products can enter the EU quota-free.
The SADC EPA Member states do not have to respond with the same level of market opening but are allowed to keep tariffs on sensitive products and remain able to protect their infant industries. Indeed, the SACU has not removed customs duties on 14% of EU products. Such asymmetry was only possible under the EPA.
The SADC EPA will boost regional integration through SACU as the latter’s tariffs on EU goods are to be harmonized.
The EPA will help SADC Member States diversify their economy in a sustainable and inclusive way, consistent with our values and principles regarding human rights, the rule of law and democracy.