With the aim of making the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) and EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) better known among the business communities and to promote exports from the region to the EFTA States, public seminars are being held between 13 and 24 July in five cities in the Southern African region.
The seminars in Gaborone (Botswana), Maseru (Lesotho), Windhoek (Namibia), Pretoria and Cape Town (South Africa) are focussing on how the business community can successfully make use of the preferential conditions under the Free Trade Agreement. The presentations cover both technical and practical aspects regarding access to the EFTA markets. The seminars are generating good discussions between business representatives and experts, and participants are highlighting the significant potential for SACU products being exported to the EFTA States.
The FTA between EFTA and SACU entered into force in May 2008. The SACU States have a combined population of 55 million. In 2007, total merchandise trade between EFTA and SACU reached 2.45 billion USD. The EFTA States exported goods worth 850 million, while imports from SACU amounted to 1.6 billion. Over the past five years, bilateral trade increased by annual average of 13%.
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