Building capacity to help Africa trade better

The Consequences of Retaliation in Southern African Trade Relations

Trade Reports

The Consequences of Retaliation in Southern African Trade Relations

The Consequences of Retaliation in Southern African Trade Relations

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There are sound reasons why African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have been designed as rules-based trade arrangements. Firstly, they have to function in terms of the GATT rules applicable to Regional Trade Arrangements (RTAs). Practically all African states are WTO members, or are in the process of acceding. Secondly, rules-based trade secures the benefits of trade (and development generally) more optimally, by providing a transparent and predictable environment for producers, traders and consumers.

The REC instruments enshrine the guarantees associated with certainty, predictability and formal dispute settlement; as opposed to the machinations of power politics and unilateralism.

The SADC Protocol on Trade is one example of a rules-based African Free Trade Area (FTA). Its general architecture confirms the intention of the Parties to provide for a system based on legal obligations which the Members States (MS) have to respect and comply with. It contains all the typical provisions necessary for conducting trade among them in a rules-based manner.

Typical rules-based features are further to be found in SADC’s provisions on trade remedies and safeguards. They are modelled on WTO disciplines. However, formal dispute settlement has never become part of intra-SADC practice.

Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.


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