Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Economic Partnership Agreements should support regional integration – Deputy Minister Magwanishe


Economic Partnership Agreements should support regional integration – Deputy Minister Magwanishe

Economic Partnership Agreements should support regional integration – Deputy Minister Magwanishe
Photo credit: the dti

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe has emphasised the importance of ensuring that the Economic Partnership Agreements concluded between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States and the European Union (EU) contribute to regional integration.

Deputy Minister Magwanishe was speaking at the 15th Joint ACP-European Union (EU) Ministerial Trade Committee meeting (JMTC) in Brussels, Belgium.

He said “that the member states, which include South Africa, of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) managed to keep the custom union together as all the Members of the Union are part of the EPA thus safeguarding the common external customs tariff”. He further stressed that the “EPAs should support regional industrialisation and the development of regional value-chains”.

The EU has been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the ACP countries, in different regional configurations, since 2002. The SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC EPA), of which South Africa is part, is the first full EPA to be concluded and it provisionally entered into force on 10 October 2016.

The JMTC meeting also discussed the EU’s proposal for a Multilateral Investment Court. Deputy Minister Magwanishe indicated during the discussion that it may be premature to support the establishment of the Court as the reform of investment policy, including discussions on an appropriate dispute settlement mechanism are on-going globally.

“In our view the best way to attract investment is to clearly identify list of investment projects, provide targeted incentives, promote policy coherence and facilitate investment through, for example, a one stop shop. In this regard South Africa has established Invest South Africa that operates as a one stop shop for investors into South Africa,” added Deputy Minister Magwanishe.

The EU and ACP countries also exchanged views on the upcoming 11th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC11) that is scheduled to take place from 10-13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In this regard, the meeting reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the importance of enhancing trade for achieving inclusive and sustainable growth and development. They further agreed on the objective of ensuring that the WTO functions as an efficient and effective negotiating forum covering issues of interest to its Members with development at the centre of negotiating outcomes.

Earlier the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, highlighted the need to assist SMMEs to make use of the market openings created by the SADC EPA, especially to enable them to meet the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and standards requirements to enter the EU market. Minister Davies attended the 20th ACP Ministerial Committee meetings also in Brussels, Belgium. The ACP consists of 79 countries from the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions. 


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010