WINDHOEK – In anticipation of the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union (EU) at the end of October, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), along with Mozambique, has agreed to roll over the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) into a new agreement.
SACU, which is the oldest customs union in the world dating back to 1910, consisting of five member states, namely Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, and eSwatini, was originally established to promote economic development through regional coordination of trade.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the SACU Secretariat noted that the conclusion of the SACU, Mozambique and UK EPA marks a decisive step towards ensuring continuity of trade and avoiding any potential trade disruptions when the UK leaves the EU on October 31, 2019.
“This agreement will therefore inject confidence and predictability to maintain current trade and potentially unlock the investments in the development of regional value chains,” read the SACU statement.
The new agreement was necessitated on the premise that trade adjustments may be needed to address specific concerns arising from the UK leaving the EU.
The new EPA was signed on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, when senior officials from the SACU member states, Mozambique and the United Kingdom reached agreement in principle and initialled the text of the new agreement in Gaborone, Botswana.
SACU and Mozambique (SACUM) initialled the final texts on September 8 and 9 respectively, while the UK initialled the texts on September 10, in Gaborone. The initialled agreement will now be presented for approval in each respective country to facilitate signature and subsequent ratification according to the domestic processes of each country.
The agreement will enter into force upon the completion of the necessary processes and country approvals. However pending ratification, the affected parties agreed to develop a non-binding memorandum of understanding which would be used as the basis to provisionally apply the effects of the EU-SADC EPA until the domestic ratification processes in each country have been completed.
“The parties remain committed to resolving the outstanding issues identified in the Built-in Agenda and the Transitional Arrangement within agreed timelines to ensure maximum commercially meaningful benefits from the Agreement,” the statement concluded.
2019-09-13 08:32:19 9 days ago