Senior officials and experts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states met through videoconference on 3 and 4 November 2021 to continue their negotiations on an updated and expanded Free Trade Agreement.
Lars Erik Nordgaard, Chief Negotiator at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries acted as the EFTA spokesperson, while Ambassador Xavier Carim, Deputy Director General, Department of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa, headed the SACU delegation.
The review process covers Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade Facilitation, Trade, and Sustainable Development.
The delegations informed each other on domestic developments that happened since the last round, including the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and uneven recoveries.
They exchanged views on the steps needed to move the review process forward and took stock of all issues outstanding under review in a constructive fashion showing their willingness to take the negotiations forward.
Follow-ups are to be completed before the parties meet again during the first semester of 2022.