Trade Briefs

Intra-SACU Trade Data Analysis

Intra-SACU Trade Data Analysis

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30 Nov 2016

Author(s): Maria Nthebolan, Carla O Tema and Ron Sandrey

The objective for this paper is to examine intra-SACU (Southern Africa Customs Union) trade with a special emphasis on the position of Botswana in this trade and the role of re-exports. The latter has become possible with the publication by the International Trade Centre (ITC) of this re-export data, although we hasten to add that there is not a comprehensive coverage of the SACU in this data.

Botswana’s data is available for 2015, but re-export data is only available for 2014. Namibian trade data is available for 2015 as mirror data, but re-exports are only available for 2013, while overall data for Swaziland is also available for 2015 in mirror data but re-exports are only until 2007. South Africa, the partner of most interest, does not have reported re-export data, and this is a significant omission from SACU’s trade data. Finally, Lesotho does not have re-export data either. Thus, we found that there was limited data to work with if we wanted to examine re-exports.

We find that reported re-exports from Botswana are minimal, but caution that because of the way in which the diamond trade is recorded in Botswana there is a degree of uncertainty about the concepts of imports, exports and re-exports of diamonds which flow through the country and only appear to be minimally processed to the extent of being sorted. This in turn may well have implications for the distribution of SACU tariff revenue from the tariff pool.

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