Despite severe challenges caused by Covid-19, officials from the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) and the South American-based Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) have reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). Senior trade officials from the two regions further undertook to deepen their partnership in the spirit of south-south cooperation.
In this regard, the two parties further agreed to keep the momentum through facilitating the business community in MERCOSUR and SACU to leverage on the benefits created by the PTA. On 05 October 2021, trade officials from SACU and MERCOSUR held their second meeting of the Joint Administrative Committee (JAC) under the framework of the Preferential Trade Agreement PTA. The JAC is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the PTA.
According to SACU Executive Secretary Paulina Elago, the meeting was held virtually and was co-chaired by Niki Kruger, Chief Director of Trade Negotiations from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa on behalf of SACU, and Counsellor Clarissa Nina, Chief Negotiator of the Brazilian Presidency Pro Tempore of MERCOSUR.
“The SACU-MERCOSUR PTA is a limited-scope agreement that aims to promote trade between MERCOSUR and the SACU regions. It offers tariff preferences on approximately 1000 tariff lines from each side with the Margins of Preference ranging between 10% and 100%,”Elago explained in a statement.
The SACU chief added that the parties considered procedural and customs administrative issues relating to the implementation of the PTA, assessed progress including utilisation of the market preferences, and challenges encountered by the parties. “The parties agreed on actionable points to facilitate the effective utilisation of the agreement and to improve trade relations between two regions,” Elago stated.