Workshop on the SACU Tribunal, 1-2 February 2007
tralac hosted a workshop on the SACU Tribunal on 1-2 February 2007 in Cape Town.
The SACU Agreement of 2002 provides for a new legal regime in terms of which the Members of the WTO will conduct their trade and related business. It is a rules-based dispensation of a particular kind, with common institutions and common policies.
The Preamble to the Agreement indicates the intention of the Parties to establish an arrangement capable of catering for the needs of the 21st century: it has to be a democratic arrangement and in line with contemporary approaches to international trade and regional cooperation. As part of this approach SACU also opted for a number of permanent institutions. Article 7 of the Agreement lists these institutions, and one of them is the ad hoc Tribunal.
The SACU Agreement has been in force since 2004 and Article 7 ‘hereby established’ its institutions. However, the ad hoc Tribunal is not yet in existence; its formal establishment has still to be undertaken. It can in fact be argued that there is an obligation on the Members to establish the Tribunal and to make it operational rather soon. Without the Tribunal SACU cannot function as foreseen. (The same approach has been adopted with regard to the Tariff Board; its establishment is also happening subsequent to the entry into force of the Agreement and a special Annex has been developed for that purpose.) Article 13 of the Agreement contains basic provisions on the Tribunal but they only constitute the initial framework.