EFTA-SACU Joint Committee and Sub-Committee hold third and fourth meetings respectively

Published 23-04-2015
EFTA-SACU Sub-Committee
Delegations from the EFTA States and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) convened on 22 April 2015 in Gaborone, Botswana, for their third Joint Committee meeting under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two sides.

In its meeting the previous day, the Sub-Committee on Customs and Origin Matters addressed the possibility of an update to the Harmonised System (HS) 2012, and exchanged views on possible new approaches in a number of areas pertaining to rules of origin and trade facilitation.

The Joint Committee, which last met in July 2011, welcomed the smooth and effective implementation of the EFTA-SACU FTA. The parties noted that there might be room to improve the existing FTA, which entered into force on 1 May 2008. This is particularly relevant considering that both sides have since signed more ambitious agreements with other trading partners, in particular the Economic Partnership Agreement between the South African Development Community (SADC) and the European Union, which was concluded in July 2014. Delegations also exchanged views on the possibility of including provisions on trade and sustainable development in the FTA.

Both sides noted that previous technical cooperation projects had been successful and exchanged views on possible new projects.

In the Joint Committee, the EFTA team was headed by Mr Erik Andreas Underland, Chief Negotiator from the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, while Ms N. Kruger, Chief Director of Trade Negotiations in South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, led the SACU delegation.

Total EFTA-SACU merchandise trade (import and exports) was valued at USD 2 billion in 2014. The EFTA States exported goods to the value of USD 0.9 billion to the SACU States while imports amounted to USD 1.1 billion.

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