EFTA and SACU discuss review of Free Trade Agreement

Published 04-07-2011
Delegations from the four EFTA States and the five members of the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) met on 1 July 2011 in Geneva for the second meeting of the Joint Committee established under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two sides.

The EFTA-SACU Agreement entered into force in May 2008 as the first FTA concluded by the five Southern African States as a group. In this latest meeting, delegations noted with satisfaction that implementation was going according to plan and that the Agreement was functioning well. The value of total merchandise trade between the two sides reached USD 2.6 billion in 2010, after growing at an average of 13% over the past decade.

Based on various review clauses contained in the FTA, the parties' discussions focused on the further development of and possible improvements to the Agreement, particularly in the areas of industrial and agricultural products. They agreed to continue working on these issues in the period leading up to the next Joint Committee meeting, and also identified customs and origin matters and technical assistance as two areas for further cooperation.

The EFTA delegation was headed by Mr Erik Andreas Underland, Chief Negotiator in the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry, while Mr Victor Mashabela, Chief Director for Bilateral Relations in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry, led the SACU side.

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