Sadc Trade Agreement
Relative to SADC trade as a whole, intra-SADC trade increased from only 15.7 per cent to 18.5 per cent over the same period. Since 2000, when the implementation of the SADC Trade Protocol began, intra-SADC trade has more than doubled, with intra-SADC trade increasing from about $13.2 billion in 2000 to about $34 billion in 2009, an increase of about 155 per cent. Development-oriented: The EPO provides asymmetric access to SADC-EPA group partners. They can protect sensitive products from full liberalisation and safeguard measures can be used if imports from the EU increase too rapidly. A detailed development chapter identifies trade-related areas that are eligible for financing. The agreement also contains a chapter on sustainable development that covers social and environmental issues. As part of its regional integration agenda, SADC has made considerable progress in removing barriers to trade and promoting growth in the region. SADC has also signed a protocol on trade in services with a view to liberalizing trade in services. The liberalization of trade in the region will create a larger market and unlock the potential for trade, economic growth and job creation. The SADC Free Trade Area aims to address the following needs of the private sector and other regional actors: the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Protocol (1996), as amended in 2010, is one of the main legal instruments guiding SADC`s work in the area of trade. It is an agreement between SADC member States to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade for products imported between SADC member States. The protocol provided for the creation of a free trade area in the region.
The regional indicative strategic development plan aimed to achieve the SADC free trade area by 2008 and a customs union by 2010. SADC is committed to removing barriers to trade, such as import/export quotas and administrative oversight. Trade is fundamental to the economic development of a region. However, it also has broader benefits that support the process of regional integration. Nations that increase trade with others by liberalizing trade policy increase economic growth and improve the quality of life of their people. The SADC Free Trade Area was achieved in August 2008, when a gradual programme of customs reductions, which began in 2001, resulted in minimum conditions for the free trade area – 85% of intra-regional trade between partner countries reached zero tariffs. The SADC Free Trade Area was established in August 2008, after the implementation of the SADC Trade Protocol laid the foundation for its establishment in 2000.   Its original members were Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, later Malawi and Seychelles.
Of the 15 SADC member states, only Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are not yet participating, but Angolan Trade Minister Joffre Van-Dúnen Júnior said in Luanda that his ministry was working to create the conditions for Angola`s accession to the SADC Free Trade Area in 2019.   The SADC Customs Union, to be established by 2010 in accordance with SADC`s Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), is unlikely to become a reality in the near future. Indeed, the European Union`s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), with their inherent extra-regional free trade regimes, have offered several SADC members more benefits than deeper regional market integration within the framework of a SADC customs union. Given that these SADC countries have formed four distinct groups to negotiate and implement different Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union, the opportunity to establish a SADC-wide common external customs law as a precondition for a regional customs union is missed.  A successful merger of the existing free trade areas between SADC, COMESA and EAC would allow duty-free, quota-free and exemption-free trade in a much larger region. . . .