Building capacity to help Africa trade better

EU, SADC hold their first Joint Council meeting under the Economic Partnership Agreement


EU, SADC hold their first Joint Council meeting under the Economic Partnership Agreement

EU, SADC hold their first Joint Council meeting under the Economic Partnership Agreement
Photo credit: John Thys | AFP

The first meeting of the Joint Council under the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) took place in Cape Town on 19 February 2019.

European Union Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, who co-chaired the meeting, said: ”Trade is a powerful tool for development and I am very pleased to see this development-oriented agreement bearing its first fruit. We need to focus now on putting into practice all remaining aspects of the agreement so that citizens and businesses on both sides can benefit fully from the opportunities provided by our partnership. The decisions taken today by the Joint Council make us advance in the right direction.”

In the meeting, the EU and SADC representatives have adopted decisions that will ensure an efficient functioning of all institutions created by the EPA. The meeting also focuses on the important role that non-state actors should play in the monitoring and evaluation of the impact of the agreement.

The EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on 10 June 2016 with the SADC EPA Group comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. The agreement became the first regional EPA in Africa to be fully operational after Mozambique joined in February 2018.

The EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements aim at promoting trade with participating countries, and ultimately contribute, through trade and investment, to sustainable development and poverty reduction. The EU-SADC EPA is also one of the building blocks towards the future African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Joint communiqué

  1. The first Meeting of the Joint Council of the EU-SADC (Southern African Development Community) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), was held on Tuesday, 19th February 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. Honourable Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana and EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström co-chaired the meeting. Commissioner Malmström was accompanied by Honourable Ms Maria Magdalena Grigore, State Secretary for Development Cooperation of Romania and representing the Presidency of the Council of the EU.

  2. The SADC EPA States were represented by Senator Manqoba Khumalo, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Honourable Tjekero Tweya, Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development of the Republic of Namibia, Honourable Dr. Ragendra Berta de Sousa, Minister of Trade of the Republic of Mozambique, and Honourable Dr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of South Africa and a Senior representative from the Kingdom of Lesotho. Several representatives from EU Member States were also present.

  3. The Joint Council welcomed the inaugural meeting, which took place just over two years after the start of the provisional application of the EU-SADC EPA on 12 October 2016 and took note of its mandate to provide political oversight of the implementation of the Agreement.

  4. The Joint Council adopted the institutional framework of the EPA containing the following documents: (i) the rules of procedure for the Joint Council, (ii) the rules of procedure for the Trade and Development Committee, (iii) the rules of procedure for Dispute Settlement and Dispute Avoidance and the Code of Conduct of Arbitrators and Mediators.

  5. Furthermore, the Joint Council endorsed the adoption by the Trade and Development Committee of a list of arbitrators. The adoption of these instruments completes the necessary institutional arrangements to enable full implementation of the EPA.

  6. The Joint Council welcomed the positive impact of the EPA on trade flows on both sides. The Joint Council agreed that in order to promote two-way trade and at the same time address certain concerns, there was a need to enhance cooperation on sanitary and phytosanitary measures and other aspects including safeguard measures relating to the implementation of the EPA.

  7. To fully benefit from the EPA, the Joint Council recognised the need for investment, increased manufacturing capacity, sustainable employment and diversified exports. The role of the EU’s development instruments in supporting those objectives was acknowledged and attention was drawn to new opportunities offered within the framework of the Africa Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs.

  8. The Joint Council endorsed the new trigger levels for products denoted by an asterisk (*) in Annex IV of the EPA Agreement on agriculture safeguards, which will be implemented following internal processes of the Parties.

  9. Furthermore, the Joint Council exchanged views on the implications of Brexit.

  10. The Joint Council noted the importance of participation of non-State Actors in the implementation of the EU-SADC EPA and the commitment undertaken to co-facilitate the organisation of a meeting at least once per year of nonstate actors’ representatives from both the EU and the SADC EPA States to discuss EPA-related issues and EPA implementation.

  11. In addition, the Joint Council welcomed the commitment to undertake further steps towards the development of a common methodology aimed at finalising a monitoring and evaluation framework for the EPA.

  12. The Joint Council commended the co-chairs for the able leadership and guidance rendered during this inaugural meeting and congratulated the SADC EPA States’ representative, Honourable Minister Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, on assuming the Chair of the Joint Council, from 20 February 2019.

  13. The Joint Council thanked the Republic of South Africa for hosting the inaugural meeting of the Joint Council.


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