Trade Briefs

The first Dispute under the SADC EPA has been declared

The first Dispute under the SADC EPA has been declared

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12 Jul 2019

Author(s): Gerhard Erasmus

When the SADC EU Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC EPA) between the European Union (EU) and the Member States of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique was concluded in 2016, it was hailed as a new generation reciprocal agreement for trade in goods with African states.

SACU recently made use of one of these “safety valves” and imposed a safeguard duty on frozen bone-in chicken portions imported from the EU. The EU Commission responded (after prior discussions) by taking the first step required for declaring an official dispute. It is contesting the manner in which one of these safeguards has been used.

On 14 June 2019, the Commission officially requested, on behalf of the European Union, “consultations with the Southern African Custom Union (SACU), pursuant to Article 77 of the Economic Partnership Agreement… concerning the imposition of a safeguard measure on import of frozen bone-in chicken portions from the European Union. These consultations will be conducted in accordance with Article 15 of Rules of Procedures for dispute avoidance and settlement, as stated in in Decision No 2/2019 of the Joint Council established under this Agreement

This Trade Brief takes a look at the substantive arguments raised in this matter, the procedures applicable to dispute settlement under the SADC EPA, and what the latest development reveals about the nature of this Agreement. What can be expected about the future implementation of the SADC EPA? What are the implications for the SACU member states and for Mozambique? Other relevant aspects of this Agreement and its implementation are also mentioned.


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