The EU’s EPA negotiations with the Southern African Development Community (SADC): July 2014 update
On 15 July 2014 the EPA negotiations were successfully concluded in South Africa. This ended ten years of negotiations and produced an Agreement that should replace the interim EPA signed by the EU and by Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland in June 2009. That agreement was never ratified.
The EPA is a comprehensive agreement with the whole SADC EPA Group including South Africa. The Agreement will now be “scrubbed” and prepared for signature.
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are trade and development agreements negotiated between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions engaged in a regional economic integration process.
The ACP EPA countries group themselves into seven regions: five in Africa, one in the Caribbean and one in the Pacific.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA group consists of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa are also members of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Trade between the EU and South Africa is governed by the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA).
The other six members of the SADC region – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU as part of other regional groups, namely Central Africa or Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) groups. The countries in SADC are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The negotiating process with the SADC group was a rather complex process because of the special position of South Africa and its role within SACU. In particular, South Africa, being the dominant economic player in the region and a major and competitive exporting country, notably for agricultural products, would not get the total duty-free quota-free treatment offered to the other ACP countries.