Working Papers

Termination of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Trade Agreement: What next?

Termination of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Trade Agreement: What next?

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05 Oct 2018

Author(s): Gerhard Erasmus

The Government of South Africa has recently given notice of its intention to terminate the 1964 Zimbabwe-South Africa Bilateral Trade Agreement, with effect from 20 November 2018. It has been announced that this Agreement will be terminated in favour of the SADC Protocol on Trade.

What is the background to this bilateral Agreement, what does it provide for, why is it being terminated now, and how will trade between South Africa and Zimbabwe in future be conducted? Are there other bilateral trade agreements which may go the same way? Are bilateral trade agreements involving only certain Members of a Customs Union (CU) permissible? Do the recent developments indicate the advance of a proper rules-based trade regime for Southern Africa?

This Policy Paper discusses these questions. It will also refer to relevant provisions in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Agreement and the SADC Protocol on Trade. It concludes with a discussion about overlapping membership challenges and the amendment of the provision dealing with derogations under the SADC Protocol on Trade.

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