EFTA and SACU move closer to update of free trade agreement

Published 05-07-2019
Niki Krüger (left) and Lars Erik Nordgaard.
Delegations from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the EFTA Member States convened in Geneva from 1 to 4 July 2019 to continue negotiations on the update and modernisation of their free trade agreement.

The Southern African Customs Union consists of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa with whom EFTA signed a free trade agreement in 2006 which the two trade blocks now seek to update and expand.

The SACU delegation was headed by Niki Krüger, Chief-Director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, South Africa, while Lars Erik Nordgaard, Senior Adviser at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries acted as the EFTA spokesperson.

In the fifth review meeting, discussions continued on all the topics under review, namely market access for goods, rules of origin and customs issues, trade facilitation as well as trade and sustainable development. Detailed follow-ups for all the areas covered by the update will be carried out before the sides meet again for the sixth review meeting foreseen for autumn 2019.

Merchandise trade stands at some 1.6 billion USD and has grown steadily over recent years. EFTA’s main exports include pharmaceuticals, ships and vessels, machinery and mineral fuel, while imports include aluminium, vehicles and nickel, as well as fruits, nuts and meat.

Read more about merchandise trade between EFTA and SACU here.

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